By Scott Hannan
During a normal semester, the St. John’s College Student Activity Center (the SAC, or, most commonly ‘the gym’) in Santa Fe is in competition for the busiest building on campus. Students, faculty, and staff visit the SAC for their regular exercise at a rate of about 1,100 – 1,300 visits per month. Some attend exercise classes, some hit the weight room on their own, others come to compete in the intramural games, or more casually with their friends. With students studying at a remove, the SAC’s building may be quiet, but it still offers a wide assortment of virtual activities and competitions to keep our campus physically active, even while in isolation.
“We are still offering most of our regular fitness classes and have added new classes as well.” Mary Anne Burke is the director of the SAC in Santa Fe. She is passionate about fitness and eager to maintain a sense of a community at St. John’s while the campus itself is closed. She has overseen the online transition of all the in-person workouts, sessions, and competitions offered by the SAC. Workouts are held live using Zoom or Teams. Intramurals have turned into competitions with participants self-reporting scores, times, or repetitions. These numbers are collected and totaled with their teammate’s numbers. Though these competitions are conducted during a time of isolation, Mary Anne has found a perspective that helps unite the entire school. “The silver-lining of being virtual is that we have joined forces with Annapolis in our online classes so we have even more to offer both campuses.”
Things are comparably different on the Annapolis campus. Normally, Iglehart Hall, a.k.a. Temple Iglehart, hosts a full intramural program, rowing crew, sailing team, fencing, in addition to regular gym access. This semester, Christopher Krueger, the director of the student activity center there (,) says their intramural teams aren’t playing team sports, but rather are “focusing on running events, fitness classes, and fitness challenges like a push-up challenge where the team with the most push-ups in 15 minutes wins.” They’re also offering gym access by appointment to local students and in the coming weeks they will host more unique fitness challenges and, possibly, an e-sport tournament.
Looking at the schedule of upcoming events, one would be hard-pressed to realize the campus is closed. In addition to the standard array of exercise classes, Mary Anne and the SAC offer tons of other opportunities for the St. John’s community to stay active. “We are focused on our intramural competitions this fall, we have a 5 week one mile competition which started this week. Following that will be a 5k challenge, like the one mile. You may see a virtual 5K Turkey Trot thrown in the mix. Sprinkled in-between are SAChallenges. Our hope is to keep our students connected to one another and the college as well as practicing self-care in this challenging time.”
You can follow the SAC on Instagram at @sactivities