As early as March, the weight room in the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center will be unrecognizable, featuring brand new machines and equipment for Brandeis community members to use. The renovation plans were spearheaded by personal trainer Mo Re Kim ’24 — the same student who advocated for the significant changes brought to the Village B/C Gym last summer. Following the successful renovations, Kim set his sights on updating the widely used Gosman space. 

In a Jan. 18 interview with The Justice, Kim recalled that the Village gym did not resemble a fitness space prior to its renovation. “It looked like a half painted garage with some old equipment that may or may not be broken built into it,” he said, explaining that half of the machines were dysfunctional. Kim said that he worked on the project with Joshua Feld ’22 and Fitness Coordinator Katherine Page to properly appeal for the funds required.

For the past few months, Kim has worked closely with Page and a team of ten other students to petition for renovations in the Gosman weight room. Their petition garnered 767 signatures, 745 of which were students, encouraging them to apply for the Community Emergency Enhancement Fund to finance their project. Their appeal resulted in over $120,000 allocated for their cause, reflecting the overwhelming support from the community. 

“That’s an immense amount of money, especially for an undergraduate project like this,” Kim said, clarifying that it is enough to replace all of the weight room’s equipment, except for the dumbbells. Kim and Page collaborated to decide which equipment they would need to purchase from Matrix, which machines to trade in, as well as which machines would be moved to other parts of campus to make room for their replacements in Gosman. 

Given that Kim and Page also partnered with Matrix to renovate the Village gym, Kim is confident that the Gosman project will proceed smoothly once the University’s Procurement Services approves the equipment vendor’s finalized quote.

“We are still waiting for them to approve it. As they do that, everything starts rolling,” Kim explained that the project is now a “waiting game” for the division to finalize the sale. He guarantees that the equipment will arrive by the fall 2024 semester, but he hopes to see it come in by March. “For seniors like me, it would be a little sad if I can’t use [the new equipment].”

These alterations to the Gosman gym have been a long time coming — the culmination of the Athletics Department waiting for the necessary funding for years. In a Jan. 18 email to The Justice, Page confirmed that the reason for renovations being pushed back was a lack of monetary resources. 

“Within the last 20 years, there hasn’t been a project of this scale,” Kim said. The Gosman faculty estimates that at least 100 individuals use the space every day, using the same dilapidated machines despite them being at the end of their life spans. Kim noted that while not all of the machines were unusable, most were “variable” or in the process of breaking down, if not already.

“The Athletics Department has not had funding to this scale of a project in a very long time, and therefore, they’re very invested in making it sail smoothly,” Kim added. 

Due to the amount of students inconvenienced by old or broken equipment, Kim did not face any difficulty in forming a team to advocate for renovations. “I've been to the gym enough to know who's in the gym a lot and who cares about this a lot,” he said. Of the students working on the project, there was a range of expertise — some with knowledge of vendors, others with knowledge of Student Union. “I really had to outsource,” Kim told The Justice. 

Brandeis is not the only university in the Boston area to undergo major gym renovations in recent years. In summer 2022, Harvard University’s Hemenway Gymnasium upgraded their strength training floors as well as created an open floor plan to maximize the space. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is also fundraising to renovate its DuPont Athletic Building with a steep goal of $5 million, of which $4.5 million will be directed towards capital and $500K will go to equipment. Last May, Northeastern University’s Marino Center reopened following upgrades to their fitness areas, main locker room, and weight room.

“I’ve been at Brandeis for four years, and nothing at Brandeis, I think, is inherently broken,” Kim said. “It’s just a little bit old.” He emphasized that with a lot of old equipment and systems on campus, anyone could generate a number of renovation projects. 

Kim added that the process for Brandeis students to fix subpar aspects of campus is more straightforward than it seems. He told The Justice that the process that went into applying for CEEF was a Google Form and a carefully considered plan.