Leah Veltri- Shorter Waits, Better Weights

It’s already hard enough to motivate yourself to go to the gym, but when you arrive just to find that it’s too crowded to work out comfortably, you question why you came at all. That’s why Miami University student Leah Veltri created Shorter Waits, Better Weights.

The goal of the Shorter Waits, Better Weights gamification marketing campaign is to move Rec traffic from peak hours to less busy times. By moving people away from 4-10pm Monday–Thursday to earlier hours and weekends, everyone can work out more comfortably. Shorter Waits, Better Weights is a point system that rewards Rec members for going to the gym at less desirable times with raffle entries. The least popular times are earliest in the day and worth the most points, and the point value incrementally decreases as the time gets later. The least busy day is Saturday, followed by Sunday, and then Friday, so extra points are earned for going on those days. Each point is equal to one raffle entry, and there is no limit on how many raffle entries can be earned. The more points you earn, the higher your chance to win. This point system rewards people for being strategic in the time that they go to the Rec, not necessarily for going frequently.

Leah is a senior majoring in Interactive Media Studies, Media and Culture, and minoring in Marketing. She created this campaign for her IMS senior thesis this past fall semester. For Interactive Media Studies students, the purpose of their thesis is to develop a digital solution to a problem through research and innovation. As an active Rec member, Leah experienced overcrowdedness at the Rec to the point where people do not have space and equipment needed to work out. When she mentioned taking on this problem for her thesis to her teacher Artie Kuhn, he informed her that many students had attempted to address this issue for their theses in past years, but found no significant solution. Nevertheless, Leah decided that she was up for the challenge.

Leah worked with Miami staff members that advised and assisted her research. She used the Rec’s data and gathered her own through surveys and meetings to better understand the issue. Her thesis reviewers are IMS faculty staff member Dr. James Coyle and Rec Center Senior Director Ron Siliko. Dr. Coyle, an expert in digital marketing, advised and guided Leah in terms of research methods and game development. Ron, who manages the Rec facility and customer service, provided Leah with data and insight into the Rec’s infrastructure. By December, Leah had designed the gamification marketing campaign, and with the help of Zach Moore, who manages the Rec’s marketing, the Rec agreed to run the campaign for her IMS capstone. This spring semester, Zach and Ron have helped in advertising the campaign, gathering prizes for the raffle, and making the project possible.

“I’m doing this project because exercising should be a positive experience for everyone. I want the Rec to serve its members in the best possible way. Hoping this campaign will help do just that!”

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