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Students exercising on cycles, ellipticals and treadmills at the USF Recreation Center. The digital leader board can be seen in the background.

The power of breaking a sweat: New cardio machines create energy at USF

Digital leadership board showing 1,3910.1 total green energy generated

Digital leaderboard displaying real-time data.

New cardio equipment in the USF Campus Recreation Center allows users to convert their workout into electricity. USF is the first college or university in Florida to have 12 SportsArt ECO-POWR treadmills, ellipticals and indoor cycles. Each one-hour workout can power a desktop computer for at least two hours. Users can keep track of their progress through a digital leaderboard that displays real-time data on how much electricity students generate on the equipment.

“It’s nice to see USF taking steps towards cleaner energy overall,” said Parker Klay, fourth-year student and user of the SportsArt elliptical. “We should have more of these. We have a very active student body and should take advantage of it.”

The machines are sleek and simple; no energy-consuming television monitors or motors that start the motions for you. As people power the machines, energy is produced and provided to the recreation center through a storage bank. The USF Department of Recreation and Wellness received support from the USF Student Green Energy Fund (SGEF) to purchase the equipment because the initiative aligned with USF’s commitment to sustainability by reducing energy consumption to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Two students work out on SportsArt ellipticals at the USF Recreation Center

Parker Klay (right) works out on the SportsArt elliptical.

“It’s a great student experience and chance for them to give back,” USF Recreation and Wellness Director Jay Souza said. “In the world of sustainability, these machines are pretty cool because it’s a tactile piece, and not only do you burn calories, but you’re helping to offset our power consumption.”

Programming and energy-generating competitions using the new equipment are being planned. Depending on student feedback and further support from the SGEF, USF’s other recreational locations could receive sustainable equipment in the future.

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