Last week, USF staff members hauled logs across Lone Mountain; and no, the school did not recruit the staff to do its leg work, but rather encouraged them to get their own leg work in. Faculty and staff from eight Jesuit universities around the United States have been recording hours of exercise online since Feb. 1 of this year as part of the annual Go Move exercise challenge.
The Go Move Challenge, currently in its fourth year, was created to encourage staff members to incorporate outdoor exercise into their daily schedules. All kinds of movement, such as walking or climbing stairs, count towards the 120 minutes that each person can log every day online (either on the GoUSF page or on Hubbub, an online health platform) during the month-long challenge. Ali Balfantz works in the office of Human Resources and was a participant in the Go Move challenge. “Attending weekly Weight Watchers meetings, hitting my Fitbit goals, taking classes at Koret, and logging my minutes on Hubbub has been great!” she said.
The Go Move Challenge began as a competition between the USF and Santa Clara University in 2013 to see who had the more active faculty and staff, but the challenge has expanded in the past two years to reach a greater number of colleges. USF won the competition previously in 2013 and 2014, while Loyola Marymount University won in 2015.
The school that records the highest number of minutes will receive a trophy and bragging rights amongst the Jesuit institutions. Additionally, there are two new awards this year for the university with the highest percentage of participants and for the university with the highest average of minutes per participant.
The other colleges involved this year are Marquette University, Creighton University, Gonzaga University, College of the Holy Cross, and Seattle University. Last year, over 500 members of the USF faculty and staff participated, raising participation by 30 percent from the previous year.
Suzy Kisylia, the Wellness Program Manager, has noted that the participation and the number of minutes of movement at USF has expanded since the challenge began in 2013, but that the margin of minutes by which schools have won has gotten much smaller. Kisylia said, “I’m very passionate about this challenge and about getting more and more colleagues involved.” The more participants that the challenge gets, the easier it is to log more minutes, and Kisylia hopes to see everyone exercising more, working towards a happier and healthier school.
USF has hosted various activities for its faculty and staff, including a kick-off event that had exercises such as yoga and hula dancing. The most recent program was an obstacle course on Wednesday, Feb. 17, which included the aforementioned log hauling, put on by the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) on campus. Eight staff members participated in this hour long event that included activities such as grenade tosses and carrying ROTC members on stretchers. The exercise concluded with each staff member pulling themselves across a rope, mimicking what it would be like to cross a river by rope. Throughout the event the participants were encouraged by the ROTC officers who were present, and as they did mountain climbers they were bombarded by positive messages such as “Email never looked so good,” and “You’re going to be so glad to go back to your desk.”
After the workout, some participants did look thankful to get back to their desks, but were mostly happy to have successfully have finished the difficult workout. Balfantz, also one of the participants in the obstacle course, said “The ROTC obstacle course/boot camp was definitely out of my comfort zone! It was a very intense workout, but it was such a great feeling to accomplish something that I never thought I could.” The events for the rest of the month include the University Ministry’s fitness walk through sacred spaces on Tuesday, Feb. 23, the leadership walk led by Don Heller and Julie Orio on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and the Dons 5k Fun Run on Saturday, Feb. 27. The calendar for the rest of the month can be found at the link below.
For more information contact Suzy Kisylia at [email protected]
Photo courtesy of Ashley Moffet/Foghorn