In the Spotlight: Western Oregon University

In the Spotlight: Western Oregon University


Welcome back to our regular look at the fitness facilities, campuses and customers that use on-demand fitness content to stay ahead of member needs. This month we check in with Western Oregon University’s busy campus assistant recreation director Zach Hammerle– and how virtual classes have kept students active during stay at home orders.


Q: Tell us a little about your role at Western Oregon?

I wear a lot of hats, but my official title is Assistant Director, Campus Recreation. That means I am responsible for building the kind of fitness program, team and facility that meets the needs of our students and members. Easy!


Q: Tell us a little about Western Oregon’s Campus Recreation Program?

Our campus is about 45 minutes south of Portland – and very busy. Or at least usually. Thousands of students come and go all the time and many take live instructor classes and follow programs to stay active and fit. In the past we’ve had some difficulties recruiting the highest caliber instructors and trainers because of our location. We had tried investing time and resources into “growing our own” team – having prospective instructors go through certification, which is time consuming and expensive. So we started looking for other options to round out our offerings.


Q: Is that how you first encountered FitnessOnDemand – you were looking to bring your users a more rounded fitness experience?

Yes. We wanted to compliment what our live instructors were able to do, but also integrate virtual and on-demand classes so we could offer our members access to hot new fitness movements and emerging fitness disciplines as well as bring in world-renowned on-demand content. But bringing in this level of content also enabled our instructors to learn and develop and grow their own live-class programs. Over the first couple of terms we added 30 classes a week and integrated those into our live class program.


Q: What has response been like with the program?

We had two full terms using the in-studio system – and reaction was phenomenal. And then when Covid-19 closed down our campus (and every other one), we were discussing what to do, how to keep students engaged with their fitness programs and goals. That timing coincided with the launch of FLEX by FitnessOnDemand – the ability to stream on-demand content to our members in their homes. We immediately contacted our team at FitnessOnDemand to begin the discussion and they got to work with things like optimizing our technology and tweaking product code for a successful, fast-tracked introduction to our students at home.

Student reaction has been overwhelming and over the past three months we’ve been supplying all kinds of content to them. By far the most popular has been short form workouts – 12-17 minutes of specialist fitness, wind down and stretching. Things like yoga and core workouts, wind down and stretching have all performed very well.


Q: What’s next for Western Oregon University?

We are experimenting over the summer with how to further blend virtual and on-demand fitness content with our returning live programs. What is the best way to integrate and balance our offering, how do we create comprehensive programs for our students? Our faculty members are using the system too, and we’re looking at how to bring on-demand content to our campus at the right price for the fall term. Next up after that our goal is really to be able to stream the content to dorm rooms and students’ phones, so like other fitness club members they can take their FitnessOnDemand classes and workouts with them wherever they go. We’re working on all of that with our customer service team at FitnessOnDemand, who’ve also been a real partner in the successful implementation and evolution of our digital content and class offerings since day one.


Attend our upcoming webinar if you are interested in hearing more about how to bring FitnessOnDemand content to your educational or workplace campus.

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