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Dillon Gym revokes self-swipe entry amid building expansion

Orange barricades attached to a fence with an orange banner which reads “Wellness builds flexibility”
Dillion Gym under construction.
Candace Do / The Daily Princetonian

Dillon Gym is changing. The gym, first opened in 1947, has seen everything from the advent of group spin classes to a newly-renovated fitness center in the past three years.

In March, another change was implemented — a new policy which requires front desk staff to swipe student IDs on a scanner behind the desk. The change was partially motivated by security concerns, but it also marks a shift towards a bigger, more community-focused gym as Dillon approaches the opening of a new fitness pavilion and lobby in the fall.


Previously, a scanner that was prominently displayed on the front of the desk enabled patrons to quickly swipe into the gym themselves, a system which sometimes created security issues.

Oliwia Morska ’24, who works as a student building supervisor at Dillon, wrote in a message to The Daily Princetonian that the building has “had a historical problem of people skipping by the card scanner” upon entering. For “safety and security reasons,” Morska wrote, the gym has updated its check-in policy and also now requires staff to directly give group fitness room keys to instructors after verifying that the keys are needed for “confirmed” events or reservations.

One student employee, Carolina Pavlik ’26, told the ‘Prince’ that although the change was communicated to staff, some employees were not convinced by the new policy’s necessity. She added that she’s also heard some complaints from gym patrons who have found the new system to be “annoying” and “don’t understand why it’s necessary.”

In terms of changing staff responsibilities, Pavlik said the policy “just requires the staff to pay more attention to their job and also to greet people coming in.” 

Previous ‘Prince’ reporting has found that some student employees appreciate front desk jobs because they often leave time for students to complete schoolwork while working the desk.

“I think a lot of people joined because it was a more relaxed job and the increased interaction and more student forward management will definitely increase the workload,” Pavlik noted.


The shift towards “a more active role at the front desk” is a part of “incentivizing staff to say hello to patrons [and] not bury themselves in their devices/books” while working, Morska wrote. Morska specifically tied this adjustment to Dillon’s ongoing expansion.

“Next fall, there will be a brand-new lobby with an increasing amount of staff-patron interaction,” she said. For example, she said, “three staff will be scheduled at the front desk, but there will only be [two] chairs.”

Jessica Ward, senior associate director of athletics for Campus Rec, told the ‘Prince’ in January that the new developments to the gym are intended promote a more inclusive and welcoming environment. Campus Rec is hoping to foster a “community center feel,” she said, as opposed to a space that feels particularly “gym-ish.”

As Morska put it, “CampusRec is growing.”

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Annie Rupertus is a head News editor for the ‘Prince.’

Please send any corrections to corrections[at]