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SA reconsiders LPAPs

By Molly Chiu     2/14/12 6:00pm

The Lifetime Physical Activity Program graduation requirement may soon be changing. In response to student concerns about wait-listing and difficulties registering for LPAP classes, the Student Association is evaluating the current LPAP requirement and considering changes to improve the program.

At the SA meeting on Jan. 30, four options for requirement changes were proposed: keep the requirement the same, reduce the requirement to one LPAP, allow participation in varsity and club sports to count for the requirement, or remove the LPAP requirement entirely while still allowing students to take LPAPs for credit. According to SA External Vice President Sanjula Jain, these options are not conclusive, but are simply an attempt by the SA to cover a broad spectrum of possibilities. After reviewing feedback from students, options may be edited or combined.

SA senators have collected feedback on the possible changes through surveys and discussions at college government meetings. The SA is currently working to analyze that feedback to get a comprehensive idea of which options students prefer, Jain said.

"This is a big priority for the SA, and we are definitely working to see something happen," Jain said. "We are trying to reach out to as many students as possible, especially athletes, to really make sure we get a complete picture of the issue."

The SA is working with Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson and Registrar David Tenney to implement changes to the program.

Hutchinson said that the university needed to determine whether the LPAP requirement is fitting the needs of undergraduates.

"This semester, we had a large number of seniors who still needed the requirement to graduate," Hutchinson said. "Many people put off taking it until senior year because they can't get into classes, which seems to take away from the benefit. It becomes a self-fulfilling cycle because freshmen can't get in because the courses are filled by seniors."

According to Hutchinson, for changes to the LPAP curriculum to take place, the SA will need to present its findings to the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum. The CUC would then research and debate the issue and make a recommendation to the Faculty Senate. Any changes to the curriculum would then need to be approved by the Faculty Senate.

"To take effect next year, the Senate would need to decide by April," Hutchinson said. "However, the CUC and the Faculty Senate are currently heavily investing their time in the new writing and communication program. It's entirely possible that the CUC will have little time to have discussion about [LPAPs] this semester."

Cardio Kickboxing instructor Larry Martinez (Baker '07) said that he thought the graduation requirement should not be changed.

"The purpose of the LPAP program is to teach students skills and knowledge that they can use for the rest of their lives, hence the name," Martinez said. "I think that exposing students to physical activities is extremely valuable."

Martinez said that he did not see a problem with the number of sections of each LPAP offered.

"In my experience, there has always been space for students who wish to take LPAP classes," Martinez said. "Although I am not teaching two sections this semester, the cap on my class was raised to accommodate more students."

Men's basketball team member Omar Oraby said he would like to see varsity sports count for the LPAP credit or the requirement removed for varsity athletes.

"Most LPAPs are in the early afternoon, and that's when we practice," Oraby, a McMurtry College sophomore, said. "It makes it difficult to sign up for LPAPs, so most basketball players take LPAPs in the summer."

Baker College junior Claire Garney said that she liked the LPAP that she took, but there was room for improvement.

"I took Cardio Kickboxing last semester, and I enjoyed it a lot, but it was a little crowded," Garney said. "If Rice wanted a way to improve, I would have to say open more sessions rather than create a waiting list."

Duncan College senior Justin Yun said he thinks LPAPs are a great way to stay active. Yun has taken two LPAPs, Samba & Merengue and Team Sports, and said he would take more if he could.

"[At first,] I was bothered by LPAPs because most of them were dancing ones," Yun said. "But I grew to like them, even the Samba one. It was a good time bonding with people that I didn't know before, and it also helps you take a break from studying. Just staying active makes you a little happier."

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