COGS to give discounted rates for gym membership By Megan Durisin, State News)

Graduate students can join the center for $249, a discount of nearly $150, said Nicole Brillantes, the club's membership services manager.

Brillantes said exercise is important for graduate students so they can work more intelligently in classes.

"They're under some high stress at this point in their lives," Brillantes said. "This is a wonderful place for them to come out and de-stress a little bit."

The Michigan Athletic Club, or MAC, is a division of the Sparrow Health System, 2900 Hannah Boulevard.

COGS President Stefan Fletcher said the group began looking to partner with MAC after the results from a survey showed graduate students were interested in more wellness activities.

Fletcher said the IM facilities can be at overcapacity during peak workout periods, with lines at some of the machines.

"Now we have the ability to utilize other resources that might be beneficial to a grad student that just got done (teaching) or being in the lab and can just work out for a short period of time," Fletcher said.

Fletcher contacted Brillantes and told her graduate student demographics were different from undergraduates, with many living in the community instead of the residence halls, Brillantes said.

The center already offers the same discount for MSU faculty and staff, she said.

"We thought we'd do the same thing for graduate students," she said. "They have families in the area here and sometimes are in the area for two to eight years."

The facilities also give graduate students the chance to network with Sparrow faculty and other community members as they work out, Brillantes said.

Matt Helm, MSU director of graduate student life and wellness, said some graduate students feel uncomfortable working out with undergraduates because they want to maintain a professional relationship with them.

"If they're a (teaching assistant), they don't want to be running into their students at the gym," Helm said.

Helm, who is a MAC member himself, said he loves the family atmosphere the club provides.

"It's a place, if you're a graduate student, where you can just take a break," Helm said.