Rachel Thomson is one of those people that goes to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center at 6 a.m. every day. It’s this kind of motivation that earned her Owen’s Condition for Tuition Tuesday.
Motivated by her physical therapy patients and her own history with injuries, Thomson completed the program for her fourth year, accumulating 200 check-ins going back to her years as a Long Beach State undergraduate.
“As a Doctor of Physical Therapy student, this means everything,” Thomson said. “It’s like three times the amount as a regular undergraduate student for our tuition ($9,144), so for this to come off of tuition in the fall is a huge, huge deal.”
Heading into the event, Thomson planned to defend her spring 2018 push-up contest crown and eat free tacos. A successful title defense and a grand prize-winning ticket later, Thomson fought back tears while sharing the good news to her mom over the phone.
This year’s program participants hit a record number of 6,935 people, and they all gathered at Associated Students Inc.’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center on Tuesday.
Since 2011, the wellness-focused scholarship program invites Long Beach State students to commit to a healthy lifestyle and pursue their fitness goals at the SRWC. Participants logged their points after each workout (of at least 30 minutes) throughout the academic year.
Those who earned at least one point were treated to churros, caricatures, henna tattoos, Hawaiian dancing and more during the end of the year event. However, only the record 1,006 challenge finishers who collected 50 points were awarded duffle bags and entered into the program’s main raffle drawing — a gigantic pink check for $3,417 to cover fall 2019 tuition costs.
The Condition for Tuition program was made possible by the Owen family. Its goals and aspirations were inspired by one of its founders, Joshua Owen, a well-known Long Beach community member and morning SWRC workout regular who died at 43 in 2015.
“What inspires us is that we’re encouraging students each year to come into the rec center and learn what’s available to them, and focus on their health and wellness,” said Maureen MacRae, SRWC interim associate director.
From a pair of cruiser bikes to a 32-inch TV, plenty of other prizes were available for all those in attendance. Each winning ticket was selected, read and verified by Piper and Brody Owen.
Anna Eyfer, a senior child development and family studies student, won a 32 oz. Hydro Flask, while getting a massage at the Beach Balance booth. Eyfer said that the program is worth LBSU students’ time.
“[The program’s] amazing,” Eyfer said. “The gym is really nice, just going to hang out at the pool as well is really relaxing, it’s a stress reliever. And living on campus when I don’t have anything to do, it’s perfect to come over here and just destress and workout.”
Eric Garcia, a junior environmental science student, is among the program’s finishers that urge students to take advantage of LBSU’s 126,500-square-foot, two-story, state-of-the-art facility.
“Going to the gym is good for you physically, [and] is good for you spiritually,” Garcia said. “Once you get in [the SRWC] once, you’re going to start going more.”