By Sarah Hayes, A&E Editor

 

It is no great secret that the health and fitness of the average American is on the forefront of the national agenda. From the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, aimed at reducing obesity rates and promoting healthier life choices for children and young adults, to the more recent #0to60 campaign, formed by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition to “[inspire] Americans to accelerate their journey toward an active and healthy life,” there are multiple efforts across the nation to promote healthier living and more active lifestyles.

But what about campaigns specifically for college students? Where is the collegiate push to turn the nation’s learners into movers? There seems to be a gap in pushing for healthy living between children in grade school and independent adults. This year, the Recreation and Wellness Center (RWC) at the University of Missouri-St. Louis has stepped up to try and fill in that gap.

From October 1 to October 28, the campus RWC held their Fall Wellness Challenge. Students, faculty, and staff who were registered at the RWC were challenged to earn as many points as they could over a period of four weeks, with a maximum of eight points earned per day. Points could be earned by fulfilling a number of daily tasks, from exercising for at least half an hour at the RWC or performing proper dental hygiene practices, to performing an act of service and writing down three things for which the participants were grateful.

The RWC gave out weekly prizes to participants as well as prizes for overall performance to the three participants who earned the most points. According to Secily Adams, assistant director of fitness and wellness at the RWC, nine people have been actively participating in the Fall Wellness Challenge. That does not seem like a very high number, but it is not from lack of reaching out to the campus on the RWC’s part. Their promotion campaign for the challenge included emails, posters, digital signs, and flyers all around campus.

“There’s a rotunda poster. I read it a couple times,” said Ashleah White, junior, English. White did not participate in the challenge herself. “They were asking a lot … It sounded like if you had any chance of winning anything, you would be a fit[ness] nut.” White admitted she is not a fitness nut, and the challenge did not appeal to her.

The Fall Wellness Challenge, however, is geared towards more than the physical aspect of health. “We are always focusing on physical fitness,” said Adams, “and I thought it would be beneficial to encourage other areas of wellness, as well.” Several of the challenges ask for taking care of the inner self as much as the outer self, such as getting seven hours or more of sleep per night.

The RWC does not have any similarly themed wellness challenges planned for the rest of the fall semester; but Adams says that “in the spring [the RWC is] opening a new space in the MSC that will focus primarily on all aspects of the wellness wheel, so look forward to lots of programing and future challenges to come.”

For more information about the RWC and upcoming events on campus, visit them online at www.umsl.edu/campusrecreation/.