Sport Imperial announced the introduction of an annual membership fee that will be coming into effect from 1st September.
For students, access to the gym and pool at Ethos will cost £30 a year from 1st September to 31st August. Staff Club Imperial memberships will also increase by £1.50 a month. Previously, Imperial students were asked to pay a one-off £40 fee, whilst staff faced a £26 monthly Club Imperial membership fee. These changes will affect staff and students alike, with the new prices fixed until 2021.
These changes, announced in June 2018, are part of Sport Imperial’s four-year joint Sports strategy with Imperial College Union, launched in March 2018. In a College-wide e-mail, Sport Imperial claimed these changes will enable them “to deliver the best possible facilities to all students and staff”.
When approached for comment, a College spokesperson acknowledged “price increases are never welcome” but insisted “by implementing the new system we will be able to significantly invest in our facilities and services over the next few years to make much-needed improvements.”
Sport Imperial shed light on the planned improvements, confirming Ethos, Charing Cross, and Hammersmith gyms will undergo a full replacement of gym equipment, with work due to start in summer and be completed by the start of the new academic year. Sport Imperial also announced plans to introduce an app which will include activity tracking and a reward scheme designed to encourage physical activity, whilst also improving functionality for Ethos bookings.
It is unclear whether staff or students were consulted prior to the announcement of these changes, however staff and students are being actively invited to provide feedback and input. A College spokesperson said: “We encourage you to have your say on how any surplus income could be invested; we will be getting in touch with students and staff early in the new academic year for views on what investment priorities should be.”
When approached for comment, an undergraduate student expressed concern about the ongoing crowding and extended waiting times at Ethos. They also asked whether new gym equipment should take priority over these.
Although this is the first price increase since 2014, these changes come amidst a slew of recent changes to sport at Imperial. Most notable of these include changes to the opening times in July 2017 and the launching of the joint Sports strategy in March 2018.