After serving the Stamford area for 156 years, the Stamford YMCA closed its doors permanently on March 31.

The Stamford YMCA released a statement expressing how the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the number of memberships resulting in decreased funding for afterschool child care programs, which ultimately created difficult obstacles for the facility to overcome. 

“We’d like to thank all our members, donors, and employees for their devoted sponsorship of the YMCA over all these years,” Paul Macari, the Stamford YMCA’s Board Chair, said.

With the sudden closure of this facility, UConn Stamford students are now left without a recreational center. 

The Stamford YMCA had a partnership with the University of Connecticut which allowed Stamford campus students to utilize the facilities free of charge. The YMCA would host events such as club basketball, badminton and soccer tournaments each semester for students to participate in. 

Nathanelle Eveillard, a junior psychology major, was a weekly attendant at the Stamford YMCA and has expressed her dissatisfaction with the YMCA closing. 

“I’m a bit disappointed as we don’t have a rec center at the UConn Stamford campus and this was a convenient spot for students to work out, especially for free,” Eveillard said. “From a soccer intramural referee perspective, it’s even more disappointing as students can no longer play soccer, basketball, and badminton there and our programs have closed in conjunction with the Y closing.”

Regional campus students are already at a disadvantage when it comes to on campus athletics because most of these teams are hosted on UConn’s main campus in Storrs, CT. With that being said, UConn adjusted the club sport schedule to accommodate the YMCA’s closure and allow students to complete their seasons. 

Stamford campus students are frustrated with the lack of planning surrounding the closure and are eager to see what UConn does to remedy this issue. 

An anonymous first year psychology student found this to be inconvenient for Stamford students as the only resource UConn has provided besides the YMCA partnership would include a vacant fitness center on campus. 

“There’s already a lack of funding going to the regional campuses, and we do have a fitness center on campus, but it’s been closed for over two years now,” the anonymous student said. “Going to the gym helped me with my mental health and now that it’s closing I don’t know what outlet to turn to.”

There is no sizable recreational center close in proximity to the UConn Stamford dormitory or educational buildings. The closest gym is a 20 minute walk away from the campus and would require students to pay additional fees to utilize the facility. 

Solutions started to spread throughout the campus, with students wondering what accommodations UConn would provide for the Stamford population. Many recommendations regarding the purchase of the YMCA’s building to create a recreational center for students as well as additional housing for incoming students were shared throughout the student body.

Horberth Alvarado, a first-year political science student, found this idea interesting as it would incentivise prospective applicants to choose to attend the Stamford regional campus.

“There aren’t many incentives to come to UConn Stamford,” Alvarado said. “Purchasing the YMCA building allows students to better engage with each other in a small, meaningful community.”

Following the proposition of including new housing in Stamford, students living on campus began receiving information about the housing shortages and unavailability of rooms for the Fall 2024 semester. One student who spoke to WHUS was a first year pre-teaching student.

“This year many students got emails that they may not have housing to make room for the incoming freshman,” the student said. “They said this and gave students no alternative to what they could do. These students also won’t know if they will have housing or not until a month before the new semester starts.”

UConn Stamford campus Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Orlikoff, has addressed the concerns surrounding the loss of the Stamford YMCA but has not commented following the housing concerns at the regional campus. 

“UConn Stamford is diligently working to find alternative options for its students,” Orlikoff said. “We are developing a scope of services RFP (request for proposals) for local sports and/or recreation facilities to bid on.” 

Image of the the former Stamford YMCA pool. Photo via Stamford YMCA.