September 16, 2016

New Member Guide – MIT Recreation

Welcome to the MIT Recreation Community

If you are a new member at MIT Recreation, welcome! We are so excited to invite you into our community of supportive, friendly members who value health, wellness and fun. At MIT Recreation, there is a lot to discover and many benefits to enjoy, but it can be overwhelming to be new. We created this quick guide to get you started – with confidence and hopefully, ease!


Our Facilities

MIT Recreation has two main locations and a few attached facilities:


Al & Barrie Zesiger Sports & Fitness Center

120 Vassar Street, Cambridge MA (Building W35)

Commonly referred to as the “Z-Center,” this is our larger facility on campus. Here you can find our Olympic sized swimming pool, a shallow teaching pool, ice skating rink, indoor and outdoor tracks, fitness floors, outdoor tennis, indoor golf range, squash courts, basketball courts and more.


The Alumni Pool & Wang Fitness Center

Commonly referred to as the “Alumni/Wang” center, this is our smaller (but still large!) facility, attached to the Stata Center. Here you will find a fully equipped fitness floor, two smaller swimming pools, and most of our group fitness classes.

For more information on these facilities, and others like our Sailing Pavilion and Boat House, see our Facilities & Tours page.


Working Out

Our members enjoy the free use (during open hours and with some age restrictions for youth) of our fitness floors and equipment, open recreation swim lanes (see schedule), indoor track, outdoor track, and more. A few activities do require reservations (such as the golf range).


Additionally, we offer group exercise classes of many varieties, golf lessons, swimming lessons, massage, personal training, and more at discounted member rates. Click for a full list of lessons or classes. Each semester, we also offer more intensive classes such as boxing conditioning, intermediate squash or women’s only swim. Check the class listings here each semester, as classes rotate and change year round.


What to Bring / What to Wear

You may need to bring special equipment or clothing depending on your specific activities here at MIT Recreation, but for either a general workout or swim in the pools, here are a few suggestions:


For a Workout

Athletic/workout clothes and shoes: Our fitness floors require athletic dress at all times (no jeans, no heals, etc.), which means any ‘lunchtime’ walks on the treadmill may require you to change out of work clothes and into some sneakers and sweats.

Locker Lock: For everyone’s safety, we can’t allow personal belongings to follow you out onto the fitness floor, so bring a lock or purchase on of ours to use a day locker.

Water Bottle: Always stay hydrated while you work out. We have water bottle filling stations for any fill-up you might need!

What NOT to bring: We have hand sanitizer, towels and an abundance of small workout equipment for your use – no need to bring your own if you don’t want to!



For a Swim

Athletic Swim Wear: Leave the frilly or bulky bathing suits for the beach. Your workout in our pools will benefit from appropriate swim wear, designed for function over fashion. Any other types of clothing, from athletic wear to shirts and a t-shirt, are not allowed in the pools.

Goggles: If you choose to use goggles (not required), they must be glass-free.

Soap: Everyone is required to rinse off before entering the pools, but soap/shampoo/conditioner is not provided, so bring your own if you need any.

Locker Locks: As with fitness floors, no personal belongings can follow you out to the pool deck. Bring your own lock, or purchase one of ours to secure your belongings.

Towels: All members are given a red towel card upon membership – bring this with you and you can leave you own towels at home.

What NOT to bring: Please leave any pool toys, food, scuba equipment, etc. at home. Hair dryers are provided in the locker rooms also.


Some Basic Rules You’ll Want to Know

Beyond what to bring with you, there are a few general rules to our facilities.

Fitness Floors: Our cardio machines, such as elliptical and treadmills, are available for use in 30 minute time slots. Stop by the fitness desk to pick your spot. For your safety and that of fellow members, please, no dropping weights, personal belongings out on the floor, or chalk is allowed. For more, see our Fitness Orientation!

Swim Diaper: Little swimmers must be double-diapered before swimming in the pools. Please be sure that swim diapers fit completely over disposables. No cloth diapers allowed. For more, see our Aquatics Orientation!


Guests: Guests must purchase a day pass and surrender a photo ID at the main desk located at the main entrance across from the Kresge Auditorium. Any purchased or borrowed day pass must be returned the same day or a fee will be assessed.

Youth Access: During the MIT Academic Year, youth access hours are put in place. These access hours are as follows:

Zesiger Center:  Monday – Friday: 6:00am – 5:00pm; 7:00pm – 11:00pm

Alumni/Wang Center:  All Operating Hours

Fitness floors have special rules related to youth access. No one under the age of 18 is allowed on the 2nd floor of the Zesiger Fitness Center or the Alumni/Wang Fitness Center at any time. Youth under the age of 13 are not allowed on the third floor fitness center. Teens age 13-17, and a parent or guardian who wishes to use the fitness facilities must first be evaluated and instructed by a DAPER personal trainer on lifting technique and safety in a gym environment.



Still have questions? Our staff is happy to help you, just stop by any of our service desks. We hope to see you in our facilities soon!