Education

Newfangled desks aim to end sedentary lifestyle of college students

Wake Tech president tries out new FitDesk

Wake Tech President Stephen Scott tries out a new FitDesk stationary bike at Wake Tech's Northern Wake Campus Library. The stationary bikes have a desktop that allow students to exercise and study at the same time. The library serves 200 students
Up Next
Wake Tech President Stephen Scott tries out a new FitDesk stationary bike at Wake Tech's Northern Wake Campus Library. The stationary bikes have a desktop that allow students to exercise and study at the same time. The library serves 200 students

This time of year, college students become hollow-eyed and sleep deprived, subsisting on pizza and chips and bottomless cups of coffee.

Wake Tech is fighting back with something called the “FitDesk,” which merges an exercise bike and desk into a healthy study machine. Two of the contraptions were installed in the new library at the Northern Wake Campus this week.

Now students can burn calories while burning through calculus.

On Wednesday, the community college’s president, Stephen Scott, disrobed from coat and tie to test out the machines in a Wake Tech T-shirt.

“I think I worked up a sweat,” Scott said after a half hour of pedaling while reading his tablet. The cycle also has a set of arm bands for an optional upper body workout.

Scott had seen an article in a magazine about Clemson University putting FitDesks in its library. He passed the idea along to the college’s librarians, who ordered two machines at a cost of $300 each. The cycles face the window in a large study space otherwise occupied by tables, modern sectional seating and cocoon-like study chairs that are insulated from noise.

I like them, I really like them. I think it’s a great idea for students to burn calories while studying ... especially in exam time when we sit all day studying.

Anna Fall, a 19-year-old Wake Tech biology major

“It’s a good idea to have a little something different that gets them excited about coming to the library,” Scott said. “A little sizzle on the steak.”

The library opened in September at the fast-growing Northern Campus with nearly 13,000 students. The building serves about 200 students an hour.

FitDesks should be popular this week, as the exam period starts on Friday. “It’s an easy way to keep your muscles moving while studying,” said Julia Mielish, dean of library services.

Wake Tech will also offer its stressed out students therapy dogs and crayons, seizing the coloring craze that has made its way from kindergarteners to adults.

Anna Fall, a 19-year-old biology major, tried out a FitDesk Wednesday.

“I like them, I really like them,” she said. “I think it’s a great idea for students to burn calories while studying ... especially in exam time when we sit all day studying.”

Scott said Wake Tech will track student use of the FitDesks. If they’re a hit, the college may buy more. If not, the bikes will be moved to a new gym going up on the campus next year.

That might be a good idea. The gym building will also house the college’s baking and pastry program.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

  Comments