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Why VCU Should Invest In An Outdoor Pool, Coming From A Lifeguard

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

As the weather begins to heat up and the spring outfits are coming back out on campus, I often find it difficult to find a place to comfortably enjoy the sun and warmth. As a lifeguard at Cary Street Gym, I work at the indoor pool for several hours each day of the week. So, I have witnessed our usual user counts enough to realize that there is a significant lack of actual VCU students attending the pool. This is most likely due to the fact that the pool is located in the basement of the gym and does not provide enough natural sunlight that most people like to pair with a swim. 

Although not many college campuses in Virginia include outdoor pools due to our average and sometimes scarce months of warm weather, I still think that the inclusion of an outdoor pool at VCU would benefit the students immensely. Universities in other states manage their outdoor facilities by opening and closing the pool throughout the seasons and monitoring outdoor temperatures, which is something that I think VCU would be fully capable of doing as well. As a college girl that loves to have a tan once Spring comes around, I have quickly realized that there is almost nowhere for me to lay in the sun on campus before public pools open during the summer. Though this may seem like a ridiculous topic to complain about, I think creating an outdoor space for students to enjoy the sun and cool off at the same time would be something that thousands of students would appreciate. 

Currently, there are only a few areas that allow students to get a decent amount of sunlight exposure on campus such as Monroe Park, the Compass, and a few various courtyards that don’t have much seating. Additionally, these areas are not somewhere that an individual could lay in their swimsuit to avoid those awkward tank top and shorts tan lines. Despite the fact that we have close access to the James River and public areas like Belle Isle in Richmond, these locations are sometimes not student friendly and are more of a hassle to get to then they’re worth. If we had an outdoor pool within walking distance on campus, this would solve the issue of dripping in sweat on the grass or having to take a hike to get to the river! 

As I’m aware that VCU is located in a city with limited space to expand, I think that there is plenty of space around campus to renovate any abandoned or run-down areas to make a spot to put a pool establishment. Building a space like this on campus would not only increase the appeal of VCU, but also create a place for students to escape the stress of class in the safety of the campus we get to call home throughout our academic careers. It’s time to up the game in VCU’s outdoors spaces and give the springtime girls what they need!

Cheyenne Bellair is an aspiring public relations professional and a current junior at Virginia Commonwealth University. She plans to graduate in 2025 and obtain a career in the public relations industry, working for an in-house agency. Recently, she has interned with the Orange County Downtown Alliance and local newspapers, such as The Somerset Front Porch, to better her experience and enhance her writing skills. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and playing the piano! Some of her favorite stories to cover involve her own musical interests and live bands that are featured locally in Richmond, VA.