Group X classes now free for university students

In light of the opening of the new fitness facility in the Cohon Center, the Carnegie Mellon University Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation recently announced that as of Monday, Aug. 29, Group X classes, endorsed by The Task Force on the CMU experience, will be free to all undergraduate and graduate students. This means that Carnegie Mellon University students can now partake in yoga, Pilates, Zumba, indoor cycling, and other Group X classes free of charge. Due to the added space of the new fitness facility, it was announced that the athletics department also plans to expand upcoming Group X schedules.

Group X classes were first inspired by the aerobics dance craze of the late 20th century, which was initiated by Kenneth H. Cooper, an exercise physiologist for the San Antonio Texas Air Force Hospital. According to the Group X page on Carnegie Mellon University’s athletics website, the first ever aerobics class at the Carnegie Mellon was called “Dance and Gymnastics,” with both activities being separated into the fall and spring semester. As the popularity of aerobics grew on campus, so did the demand for more classes and instructors.

“Over the years, the program grew and developed into Group Exercise, which is now called Group X,” the website states.

Making Group X classes free has been a work in progress for some time. Last year, the Athletics Department sponsored “Fitness February.” During this month, Group X classes were made free to undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, a partnership between Athletics, Housing Services, and Student Life provided free Group X classes during the spring semester to residential students. The economic, physical, and ultimately educational benefits of these programs led to an increase in popularity and desire for free Group X classes year-round for students.

In the press release for the recently announced free Group X classes, Josh Centor, Director of Athletics at Carnegie Mellon, discusses the positive outcomes of these initiatives and what led to this decision. “We had great success with our initiatives last year,” said Centor. “I couldn’t be more excited that we are able to take this important step for our student community.” He hopes that the accessibility of these new classes will provide students the opportunity to be more healthy and active.

Group X classes used to be paid for through the Fitbucks payment system. Each Fitbuck would cost one dollar and a Group X class cost five Fitbucks. To pay for a Group X class, students were required to bring their Carnegie Mellon ID and tap their ID against a tablet to pay at the start of the session. This process still remains; however, students can now take advantage of the classes by simply arriving at their desired class a few minutes prior to it starting and presenting their student ID to the instructor. This is a much quicker, simpler, and more economically friendly alternative.

In the press release, Gina Casalegno, Vice president for Student Affairs, stated, “It is an exciting time to be at Carnegie Mellon with new investments being made in facilities and programs that support an enhanced CMU Experience.... I have been inspired to see the university’s commitment to holistic health and well-being come to life in our physical infrastructure through projects like the Cohon Center expansion and planned investments in the Tepper Quad and other building renovations. As we open the year with the impressive addition to the Cohon Center, I am thrilled the university is furthering the impact of our programs through the free Group X initiative for students.”

So far, reception to this news has been extremely positive among students.

The official announcement can be read at