UBC Undergraduate Research

UBC Aquatic Centre Universal Change Rooms : Improving Patron Experience with Universal Change Rooms Barkowsky, Paige; Roberts, Mikaia; Stewart, Christie; Zelembaba, Ana


The purpose of the UBC Aquatic Centre Universal Change Rooms: Improving Patron Experience with Universal Change Rooms study is to gain a better understanding of patrons who use this facility in the Aquatic Centre at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and how we can better them and make them more accessible for all patrons. Sixteen participants were surveyed about their use and experiences in the universal change rooms. This study focused on both statistical data and a descriptive thematic analysis to understand findings from the 21-item in-person survey. The information gathered will be used by our SEEDs partners to improve experiences in the universal change rooms. The findings of the study coincided with the average age and gender identification of UBC (Smith, 2008; “Demographics Overview,” n.d.). An overview of participants’ demographics were displayed, including a majority of Caucasian participants, students, and those who identified as single. Small trends were found from the open-ended questions and optional suggestion questions such as the want for more private changing stalls and showers, making lockers more accessible and easier to use, and overall better cleanliness of the facility. Two larger themes arose from the data analysis: importance of privacy and feelings of safety. A large majority of participants reported that the reason they used the universal change rooms, was that they preferred the private changing stalls that they offered. This privacy allowed users to feel more comfortable, and made them more likely to engage in physical activity. Many participants also expressed that when they used the universal change rooms, they felt safer. Specifically, members of the LGBTQ+ community felt that in these spaces, they were able to be themselves and were more accepted. As this barrier of non-acceptance is a deterrent for LGBTQ+ members to participate in physical activity, it is important to address to ensure they are able to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Based on the findings of the study, three main recommendations for moving forward were created. First, to create signage depicting a code of conduct for appropriate behaviour in the universal change rooms to promote and enhance security, comfort and privacy for users. Second, to implement various modifications, including providing an increased quantity of lockers, the number of private changing stalls and showers, as well as to reassess cleaning procedures for the locker room. Finally, to install more universal change rooms in the future across campus, and to renovate pre-existing facilities in order to increase the accessibility for those who feel more comfortable using the universal change rooms. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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