Columbia | Physical Education & Recreation

at The Dodge Fitness Center

Frequently Asked Questions

Dodge Fitness Center Membership | Required Physical Eduation | Functional Fitness Group Training | Group Fitness Pass | Personal Training | Specialized Classes | Intramurals | Club Sports | CampsFacilities

Dodge Fitness Center Membership:
What does my membership at Dodge Fitness Center include?
  • See all membership benefits  & amenities HERE
I'm a student, how do I know if I have a membership?
  • Morningside Campus students who pay University Facility, Student Life, or College Fees in their term bill are automatically members of the Dodge Fitness Center (undergraduate students, Teacher's College, Barnard, some graduate students).
  • Please check your SSOL account to determine your membership status.  Please note: towel and locker service is not included with students' tuition fees.  Please see a Membership Office staff member to buy a towel and locker service). 
  • If you have trouble with swipe access, please, bring a copy of your current tuition bill to the Membership Office.  
Who is eligible for Dodge Fitness Center membership?
  • See  eligibility guidelines HERE
I'm eligible! How can I join the Dodge Fitness Center?
  • Please join online or in person.  To join online please click HERE.  To join in person stop by the Membership Office located in the Dodge Fitness Center 4th floor lobby during the Membership Office hours.  Please bring all required documents and identifications. 
How do I rent an overnight  locker?
  • You can rent an overnight locker at the DFC Membership Office or online.
When does my overnight locker expire?
  • Fall 2018 lockers expire on December 22, 2019
  • Spring 2019 lockers expire on May 17, 2020
  • Summer 2019 lockers expire on August 2, 2020
I left my items in a locker after my membership expired. Where are my belongings?
  • Abandoned items will be kept in storage for about one term prior to disposal.  There is a $20 retrieval fee.  Storage of abandoned items is a courtesy and the Dodge Fitness Center will not be responsible for missing items.  
I purchased a locker.  Where do I get a towel and a key to my temporary locker?
  • Towels and keys may be borrowed at the Equipment Desk, located on the 4th floor (prior to the running track).  To borrow a towel and a temporary locker key, please scan your ID at the Equipment Desk scanner. Please, always return your towel and a temporary locker key and always scan your ID card again when returning borrowed items.
I am an American Language Program (ALP) student. How I can get a membership?
  • Please, visit the Membership Office (4th floor of Dodge Fitness Center) with your current Columbia University student ID card to pay the DFC Access Fee. An additional charge will apply if you need a locker.
Can alumni join?
  • Yes, memberships are available for alumni and their qualified family members.  Alumni memberships run through June 30, 2020.  To sign up please stop by the Membership Office and present a document confirming your year of graduation (diploma, a photograph of your diploma, or transcript).  
Can my family members join?
  • Eligible family members include spouse/domestic partner and children, ages 6 to 26.  Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to use the tri-level fitness center equipment and must be accompanied by an adult at all times throughout the building.  
  • To purchase a family membership 1) bring proof of marriage or common residence (marriage certificate, utility bill, personal check, driver's license, etc.) 2) primary member must have a membership; 3)  bring state issued ID cards; 4)  The Membership Office will issue a DFC CU ID card; 5) Sign the Release of Liability Form. 
I am a Columbia University Retiree.  Are there discounts?
  • Yes!  Columbia University Retirees receive a 50% discount on their basic membership.  The basic membership includes a temporary locker and a towel service.  Please make sure to bring your Retiree CU ID card to the Membership Office at the time of registration.
How do I bring a guest?
  • CU Students' guests pay $10 per day; other's guests pay $15 per day. The guest pass expires at the closing time of the same day when it was purchased. 
  • Dodge Fitness Center members may invite up to two guests per day.  All visitors must bring their photo ID cards. 
  • All non-student members must be at least 18 years old when hosting the guest/s.  
  • Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to enter the tri-level center area and must be accompanied by an adult throughout the rest of the building.
  •  Guest/s may use the locker-rooms and borrow the daily locker key/s and a towel/s. 
  • All guest/s must be accompanied by the sponsoring member at all times.  The sponsoring member will be responsible for the guest’s actions while at the Dodge Fitness Center. 
  • All Guests/Sponsors must complete and sign the Release of Liability Form. Guests under 18 years of age must submit the Waiver for Minors signed by their parent or guardian.  
My ID card does not provide me access to the DFC. What should I do?
  • Please visit the Membership Office (4th floor of Dodge Fitness Center) and talk to one of our membership representatives.  Students might be asked to present a term bill to verify charges of University Facility, Student Life or College Fees. 
My insurance can reimburse me for fitness center memberships. Whom do I contact?
  • Please check with your health benefits advisor for reimbursement requirements. We will support you with a print-out of your visits and receipts.  Please, always make sure to scan your ID card at the turnstile entrance. 
How can I save time and money at Dodge Fitness Center?
  • Purchase your membership for more than one term.
  • Mark your calendar with your locker rental end dates.  Avoid retrieval fees, please, renew or empty lockers on time.
  • Some health plans will issue a generous refund for fitness facility membership fees.

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Required Physical Education:
Where does my class meet/who is my instructor?

How many absences am I allowed (How many classes can I miss and still pass)?

  • Click here to see the number of absences allowed for your course section (must log on to LIONMAIL to view)

  • Students who report within ten minutes after the start of class are given half absence.  If the lateness exceeds ten minutes, the student is considered absent from the class.

  • It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of their absences throughout the semester. 

I'm on the waitlist should I attend the first day/week of class?

  • Yes, attending the first week of class will increase your odds of being added to the class should seats open up.

  • Attendance is taken from the first day, if you wait until you are officially added to the class to attend, the classes you missed while on the waitlist count toward you absence total. 
  • All waitlisted students will receive an email prior to the first day of class with more instructions. 

Are there any makeup opportunities?

  • Make up classes are rarely permitted, and must be approved by your instructor or the Director of Physical Education, Jeff Ryder.
  • Occasionally, ALL physical education students will be notified by the Director of Physical Education via email, of optional make up opportunities.

What happens if I miss class because I am sick/injured?

  • If a student is to be excused from a class for medical reasons, they must provide a doctor’s note and arrange for a make-up class with the instructor or the Director of Physical Education within two weeks of their absence or the absence will count toward their absence total.

What happens if I miss class because of a job/grad school interview?

  • Please note that all planned absences will count toward your course absence limit.  

What happens if I miss class due to a religious holiday?

  • It is the policy of the University to respect its members' observances of their major religious holidays.  However, the student is responsible for the participation time missed during those days.  If a student is to be excused from a class for religious reasons, they must arrange for a make-up class with the instructor or the Director of Physical Education prior to the holiday. Please note that all planned absence will count toward your course absence limit. 

Do I have to have experience in the sport/activity before I take the class?

  • Only Classes listed as "Intermediate" or "Advanced" require experience

I'm a Barnard student, can I take classes?

  • Barnard students may enroll in PHED courses Thursday, September 13th and Friday, September 14th from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Physical Education Office (336 Dodge Fitness Center, 854-3439). Barnard students must receive approval from the Director of Physical Education to register for the course.

If I take the same class/activity twice, will it count for my requirement?

  • Yes! You can take the same activity more than once. For example, taking Cardio Fitness in the Fall and again in the Spring will both count toward your requirement.

Does my participation in Club Sports or group fitness or physical activities outside of Columbia count toward my requirement?

  • No, only registration and completion of a PHED course will count toward your requirement. 

When do Spring 2019 PHED Classes Begin?

  • Friday Classes: January 25th 
  • M/W Classes: January 28th

  • T/Th Classes: January 29th 

*Students enrolled or on the waitlist for a Hiking, Sailing, or Golf course will receive an e-mail with dates and instructions from their instructor*

When do Spring 2019 PHED Classes End?
  • Friday Classes: 

    April 19th
  • M/W Classes: April 24th

  • T/Th Classes: April 25th 
*Students enrolled or on the waitlist for a Hiking, Sailing, or Golf course will receive an e-mail with dates and instructions from their instructor*

Where do I meet for the 1st day of class?

  • All classes (unless otherwise directed by instructor) will meet during their scheduled meeting time on the steps of the Levien Gym Lobby on the 2nd floor of the Dodge Fitness Center.

What should I wear to class?

  • Athletic shoes, comfortable clothing.

  • Swimwear for the aquatics classes 

Does my Barnard dance class count toward my requirement?

  • One Barnard dance course can count toward your Physical Education requirement.  You DO NOT need to take a Columbia PHED course first.

When is the swimming test/how do I sign up?

What does the swim test involve?

  • The test consists of swimming three laps of the pool (75 yards) without resting, using any stroke or combination of strokes.  If a student takes and passes the beginner swim course for one term the requirement is waived.

What can I wear for the swim test?

  • Swimwear of your choice

  • Swimwear cover ups such as t-shirts are allowed.

What is the last day I can take the swim test before Graduation?

  • Friday, May 5th, 2019

  • However, we strongly advise taking the test prior to your final semester.

What is the deadline to request a medical waiver?

  • Friday, March 1st, 2019
I'm a graduate student, can I enroll in a PHED course?
  • No, graduate studetns cannot enroll in PHED courses, however they can participate in Group Fitness, Intramurals & Club Sports. 
How do I check my requiremnt completion status?
Can I take two PHED courses in one semester?
  • Students are only allowed to register for 1 PHED course a semester.  However,  special circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis.  Students seeking to take two courses in one semester need to contact the Director of Physical Education the first week of PHED classes for approval. 

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Functional Fitness & Suspension Group Training:
What is functional fitness?
  • According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), "functional fitness is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to the enhance someone's ability to perform activities of daily living." 
What is suspension training?
  • Suspension training is a form of bodyweight resistance training that allows for pushing, pulling, swinging, standing and seated movements by utilizing a hanging apparatus, such as TRX straps or a trapeez-like bar. 
What is small group training?
  • In small group training classes the instructor will guide particpants through a challenging functional fitness circuit.  Classes can accommodate up to 10 individuals at once. Click HERE to learn about class formats. 
Do I need to be experienced in order to take a class?
  • No. Classes are ALL LEVELS, so beginners are welcome. 
What do I need to wear or bring to class?
  • Comfortable exercise attire and appropriate footwear is a must.  Although not required, you may also want to bring a towel, water bottle, and maybe some weightlifting gloves for comfort. 
Where is the functional fitness room located?
  • The Functional Fitness Studio is located in the the squash courts corridor on the third floor of the fitness center. 
How do I sign up for a small group training class?
  • Purchase a package ONLINE, or visit us in room 336, Monday-Friday, 8AM-5PM. 
Are these classes included in the Group Fitness Class Pass?
  • Due to their highly specialized nature, and limited slots available, small group training classes held in our Funtional Fitness Studio are sold separately from the Group Fitness Pass. 
Can I try a class for free?
  • In most cases,  you will need to purchase a functional fitness puch pass in order to participate. However, keep a lookout for deals! An occassional free trial class may be offerred. 
Can I do a one-on-one in the functional fitness studio?
  • Yes! Simply purchase personal training sessions with a DFC Personal Trainer. As long as the studio isn't booked, you and your trainer can access the room for a private training session. Click HERE to learn about our Personal Training Program. 
Are there open hours in the studio?
  • Absolutely! Click HERE to find out when the studio is open for general use. Note: First-timers must receive a brief tutorial before using the studio. Just ask the studio attendant for one, and he or she can give you the rundown. 

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Group Fitness Class Pass:
What does my Group Fitness Pass include?
  • The Group Fitness Pass gives you unlimited access to over 70 weekly classes offered in aerobics rooms 3 and 4 over the entire semester. Classes range from cardio, sculpt, and boxing to Pilates, yoga, and Zumba! Click HERE to see our schedule.
How can I purchase my pass?
  • Passes can be purchased anytime ONLINE . You may also purchase a pass in person in Physical Education 336, Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM. Please note that we have a finite number of passes, and once we sell out, sales close.
Are passes pro-rated?
  • Prorated sales are contingent on availability. Classes are prorated to half price midway through the semester, but only if there is space availability.
Where do I pick up my pass sticker?
  • Once you have registered, a pass sticker may be obtained in the Physical Education  office  (Dodge 336)  Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm.
Can I get a refund?
  • Yes, as long as you request a refund by the refund deadline for that particular semester/term. 
I'm a beginner, can I take these classes?
  • Absolutely! All classes are ALL LEVELS. 
What should I bring to class?
  • You need to bring to class is your DFC or Columbia photo ID with your pass sticker. Also, you will need proper fitness attire and SNEAKERS (the only classes that don't require sneakers are Barre, Pilates, and Yoga). 

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Personal Training:
What are the benefits of hiring a personal trainer?
  • There are lots of benefits to working with a DFC personal trainer! Not only does working with a trainer make for a challenging, variety-filled workout, it also provides for accountability, motivation, and a safe way to maximize your gym time.  And it's fun!
Do I have to be a member in order to hire a Dodge Fitness Center personal trainer?
  • Yes, your Dodge Fitness Center membership must be current in order to hire the services of one of our qualified personal trainers.
How do I hire a personal trainer?
  • First, register ONLINE and a trainer will contact you within 48 hours.
  • Then, purchase sessions ONLINE  or in the Physical Education Office (Dodge 336) Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm.
Can I bring in my own personal trainer? 
  • No, personal trainers who are not employed by the Dodge Fitness Center are strictly prohibited from doing business at the fitness center. While at the Dodge Fitness Center, members may only utilize the services of a Dodge Fitness Center personal trainer. Please review our Program Policies

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Specialized Classes:
Do I have to attend every class?
  • You may attend as many classes as you'd like. However, because classes are not sold individually or prorated according to attendance, we recommend you attend as many classes as possible. 
What skill level is required for classes?
  • Unless otherwise noted, classes are ALL LEVELS. 
  • Lap Swim courses assume you have basic swimming skills already. If you are an absolute beginner swimmer, we recommend you complete the Adult Learn to Swim course before attempting Lap Swim.

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What are Intramurals?
  • Columbia University Intramurals is a division of the Department of Athletics that provides a variety of vigorous, fun-filled, health promoting, physical and recreational activities conducive to wellness and personal development. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and associates who have a valid Dodge Fitness Center membership can participate in these activities. Unlike intercollegiate athletics or club sports, Intramural teams compete only against teams from the Columbia  community. Competitions are held either at the Baker Athletic Complex at 218th street and Broadway or at the Dodge Fitness Center on the main campus.
 Who is eligible to play Intramurals?
  • All members of the Columbia community with a valid Dodge Fitness Center membership are eligible to play intramurals. Students in most undergraduate and graduate schools are automatically members of the Dodge Fitness Center; this includes students in the following schools: CC, GS, Law, Business, SEAS, SIPA, Journalism, Architecture, TC, and Barnard.
  • Students in M&F, ALP, Health Sciences, and Public Health must purchase a student membership to the Dodge Fitness Center before they are eligible to participate. GSAS and PH.D. students who are eligible to purchase a student membership will have this indicated on their tuition bill. For more information on membership go here.
How do I sign-up a team or join an existing team?
  • First, you must create an account on For instructions on creating an imleagues account and signing up a team or joining an existing team, go here.
Can I sign up for an Intramural team alone?
  • Yes, and you would be considerd a free agent. To sign-up as a free agent for a team sport, you must first create an account on For instructions to creating an imleagues account and signing up as a free agent, go here.
Are there Co-Rec Intramural leagues?
  • In place of Co-Rec Intramural leagues, there are Open-Recreational leagues. Open-Recreational is a mixed gender league that is open for anyone to register and participate. This league is encouraged for teams not looking for gender-specific requirements. No Co-Rec rules will apply! Please visit Columbia University's website for more information.
 How many teams can register for each league?
  • Limits on the number of teams are set for certain sports because of limits on the time and space available for competitions. These limits vary from sport to sport and year to year. Teams are registered on a first-come first-served basis. Therefore, to guarantee your team a spot in the league you must fulfill the roster minimums on imleagues and pay the refundable forfeit deposit to the Physical Education Office on the 3rd floor of the Dodge Fitness Center. 
How many teams can I be on?
  • Due to limits on the time and space available for competitions, participants are only allowed to compete on one team per sport.
What do I have to do to get the forfeit deposit back?
  • In order to receive a full refund of your forfeit deposit, you must attend the scheduled captain's meeting and attend all of your scheduled games with enough players to compete. You can receive your deposit refund once the sport league has ended. You will need to show your ID in order to receive your refund. The IM Department will contact team captains when refunds are available for pick up. Deposits can not roll over to another sport or team. 
What can I name my team?
  • The program encourages participants to use creative team names. However, all team names must reflect good sportsmanship and must be appropriate for a University community. 
 Will my team get facility space for practices?
  • Due to limited facility time and space, Intramural teams will not be able to use Columbia facilities for practices.

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Club Sports:
Who is eligible to join a Club Sport?
  • All members of the Columbia community with a valid Dodge Fitness Center membership are eligible to join a Club Sport. Students in most undergraduate and graduate schools are automatically members of the Dodge Fitness Center; this includes students in the following schools: CC, GS, Law, Business, SEAS, SIPA, Journalism, Architecture, TC, and Barnard.

  • Students in M&F, ALP, Health Sciences, and Public Health must purchase a student membership to the Dodge Fitness Center before they are eligible to join. GSAS and PH.D. students who are eligible to purchase a student membership will have this indicated on their tuition bill. For more information on membership go here.
Are there fees to join?
  • Yes, all Clubs charge dues to their members to help supplement the operating costs associated with their sport.  The cost of dues is different for each club, so please contact the Club's Officers listed on the Club Sports Directory for more information on the Club’s dues.

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Do I have to be a Columbia affiliate to attend your camps?
  • No! Our camps are open to everyone who meets the specified age, grade, or gender. 
Sports Camps:
Who runs the sport specific camps?
  • Our head and assistant coaches direct their own sport specific camps.
When does registration open?
  • Camp dates are most often published in late November or early December. Please check each camp website for specific information regarding their dates and registration. 
Little Lions Camp:
What is a typical day like?
  • The morning begins with a morning meeting to do introductions and review the camp rules. Campers then participate in a warm up game, typically followed by another sport or game. Swim is in the morning for each group, followed closely by lunch. The afternoon is full of more sports games and ends with arts & crafts.
What types of games do you play?
  • We play a wide variety of sports and games, including the following camp favorites: GaGa Ball, Capture the Flag, Kickball, Track Relays, Soccer, Dodgeball, Tag, and Squash. All of our games and activities are intended to help campers develop cooperative skills, introduce them to new activities, and have fun.
Do you go outside?
  • While at the Dodge Fitness Center, we try to go outside each afternoon. However, this depends on the weather and other factors.
Are swim lessons included?
  • The morning swim time is recreational swim. Swim lessons are available after camp.
Can my non-swimmer participate in swim time?
  • Campers must have some prior swim experience to ensure they are water-safe. Campers who want to participate are evaluated on the first day of swim to make sure they can float and swim the length of the pool. Campers who cannot pass or do not wish to take the evaluation will swim with a Coast Guard Approved life jacket. Campers who do not wish to swim are able to participate in other fun sports and games.
Is lunch provided?
  • No. Campers bring their own nut-free lunches each day. Refrigeration is available during the camp day, and each camper must have their lunch in the morning at drop off. Unfortunately, microwaves are also not available to reheat camper lunches.
What is post-care?
  • Post care is an extension of the camp day and includes more games and activities. Campers often choose between board games, arts & crafts, and squash court games.
How are campers grouped?
  • Campers are traditionally grouped based on age, with 6-7 year olds in one group, 8-9 year olds in another, and 10-12 year olds in the final group. 
What is your counselor to camper ratio?
  • We always maintain a ratio of at least 1 staff member to 10 campers, but it varies based on age and activity.
Who are the staff members?
  • Many of our staff members are either full time teachers, after school teachers, or Columbia University gradute and undergraduate students. 
Can I apply for a job as a counselor?
  • To be a counselor, you must be over the age of 18 and have some prior camp experience. Students ages 16 and older can volunteer for a few weeks during the summer. The applications for both can be found here.
What is your cancellation policy?
  • Each camp week must be canceled two weeks prior to the start date. A cancellation fee of $125 will be applied. Make ups and refunds will not be granted for missed camp days.
Are prorated options available?
  • Yes. Email to find out whether it is possible for a particular session. Make ups and refunds will not be permitted for missed camp days. 

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Can I reserve a room at Dodge Fitness Center?
  • Contact Pat Desir to inquire.
  • Reservations are basesd on space availability.
  • A facility reservation fee may apply
Who should I call with more questions?
  • Membership Office...........212-854-2547; 212-854-2546
  • Facility Schedules.......................212-854-3441 
  • Voluntary Programs....................212-854-3439
  • Personal Training........................212-854-4439
  • Intramurals/Club Sports.............212-854-4002
  • Sports & Youth Camps................212-854-2233
  • Squash Court Reservation...........212-854-7149
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