New Equipment, New Outlook: How Campus Recreation's Investment is Benefiting the Growth of both Students and Staff at Minnesota State Manakto

Bretta Gonzales

Bretta Gonzales was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She took a chance coming to Minnesota State University, Mankato four years ago when she began her undergraduate studies in Exercise Science here. Having a passion for fitness, Gonzales chose to continue her education in Minnesota State Mankato’s Exercise Physiology program. Now as a first-year Graduate Assistant in Campus Recreation, she continues to help others on campus and in the community find passion in health and wellness.

As a Graduate Assistant in the Fitness and Wellness area of Campus Recreation, Gonzales works with members of the University and Mankato communities in a variety of ways. She works on fitness assessments for her clients, teaches fitness group classes and helps to organize and promote large community fitness events.

Recently, she has seen an increase of both students and staff on campus using her services and Campus Recreation facilities. Gonzales believes this is due to a recent $109,000 investment in weight room equipment in the Otto Recreation Center.

The recent weight room upgrades include user-friendly equipment that provides pictures of the areas the exercise is targeting. The new machines are helping educate users at all stages of their fitness journey and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Gonzales has been able to work with a larger variety of students and staff who are coming because of the new investment. She says, ”The whole space in Otto feels completely new. It is drawing new students in every day. It is encouraging new users to try things and get a taste for equipment they like, and they start to build a day-to-day mindset of wellness.“

With the increase of new areas to the center, Gonzales has the opportunity to strengthen her skills in her graduate assistant role. She is able to work on her communication skills with students from a larger variety of cultural backgrounds.

”I have always appreciated how diverse our campus is with students from all over the world,“ she says. ”It has been such a great experience working with diverse cultures that are here for the same reason—to be healthier individuals. The new equipment is bringing our campus community closer and to a common purpose of investment in our physical and mental health.“

The new equipment is also helping Gonzales get the one-on-one exposure to clients that she believes will help her toward her future goals in worksite wellness. With over 1,000 entries to the Otto Recreation Center each day, the continuation of both regular and new users of the facilities and new equipment is beneficial for all. Graduate assistants and staff continue to help individuals find the balance of convenience and efficiency with health and fitness.

Gonzales says, ”Health is every day. We want our students, staff, and community to create a healthy mindset. Part of that starts here and with this new equipment. It is a win-win situation when students feel comfortable and excited to use our machines, and I can help them be more successful with their progress using them“.

Big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.