HPS 1040, a general health and fitness class all Tech students must take to graduate, may soon face the addition of a physical education component.

“It’s very important for there to be some required physical activity, especially during the freshman year,” said SGA Vice President of Academic Affairs Amit Khanduri, who is working to institute the requirement. “It would set students into having some good habits, and working out and going to the gym.”

“I wouldn’t mind it because I enjoy physical activity,” said second-year ME major Ava Bilimoria, speaking of the proposed physical requirement. “I haven’t taken health yet, but I’ve heard the class is mainly book-based. I think adding in a physical education component would be fun and a good break from regular classes.”

Students originally took HPS 1060, a two-hour seminar course with a focus, such as nutritional effects on exercise. Students sat in lecture for one hour and spent the other hour in an activity related to the primary emphasis of the course. Tech replaced HPS 1060 with HPS 1040 due to monetary and staff restraints.

SGA is working to bring back a session outside of lecture.

“We would like to see some sort of ‘lab’ component, which allows students to use the CRC or the myriad of intramural activities that are offered at Tech,” said SGA Chair of Curriculum & Institute Policies John Miller. “Coupling this with the current structure of attending lectures would be a great addition.”

The physical education requirement is one part of a greater effort to change the health class.

“We are in the process of developing a road-map to make some changes to the current lecture-based HPS 1040 class,” Miller said. “We are working with the administration and the HPS department to draft a new proposal for what it might look like.”

SGA is basing its current efforts off of a 2008 proposal, in which two options were drafted. The first option was a split in the course, with students sitting in lecture the first half of the course and attending an outside activity or lab the second half of the course. The second option was to intermittently mix the lecture with the activity, with each of the two components mimicking the plan from HPS 1060.

“Tech is a very stressful school, and students need a way to release stress,” Khanduri said.

A fall 2009 HPS 1040 class survey revealed that many students preferred additional options in the course, such as leveraging the CRC.

In addition, the survey showed that students believed that the lecture format of the class was not the ideal method of conveying the principles of healthy living.

“I think the student voice has been heard…they would like to see some sort of PE component added to the Health class,” Miller said.

“Part of me likes [a PE component] because it’s hands-on and because it’s active learning. You get more out of the class,” said first-year AE major Terence Au. “The other part of me feels that you may be forced to do it, and as soon as you do, sort of like gym in high school, you won’t really care about it.”

However, some students believed the addition should be optional.

“I believe that students who are involved in intramural / club sports or classes at the CRC should be allowed to exempt from this aspect of HPS 1040,” said first-year BME major Sara Ferretti.

If this change garners enough support, it may be applied to HPS 1040 very soon.

“Our goal is to have the plan completed by the end of this semester, ready to implement it sometime next year,” Miller said.