The Cortland kick-off of the SUNY Wellness Challenge drew more than 150 faculty and staff members to Jacobus Lounge on Valentine’s Day to learn about how the motivational fitness program will work, and to get their competitive juices flowing.
A total of 54 teams of four people each have signed up for the eight-week challenge, and several more teams are expected to jump on board before the friendly competition officially begins on Monday, Feb. 25. No new teams will be accepted after that date.
Until then, faculty and staff can sign up online through the SUNY Wellness Challenge website.
During the challenge, the teams will compete for prizes by doing healthy activities like yoga and running. Participants who attended the kick off received free pedometers and Wellness Challenge gym bags. Points will be awarded for losing weight, for eating servings of vegetables, and for doing positive things in the community such as donating blood.
“This was an incredible turnout for our first year,” said Carol Van Der Karr, associate provost for academic affairs and a member of the Wellness Challenge Steering Committee. “It was inspiring to see so many people from all areas of the campus start this challenge together.”
The program was developed three years ago at Cayuga Community College. It has been so successful at getting teachers, staff and even students involved that organizers this year reached out to other SUNY campuses. SUNY Cortland and Onondaga Community College were invited to participate in what organizers hope will eventually become a SUNY-wide initiative.
Well-being is one of the College’s strategic priorities. Given that SUNY Cortland has strong scholars in related fields and outstanding athletic and recreational programs, the challenge seems to be a natural fit with the campus.
During the competition, each participant will use a pedometer to keep track of the steps they walk throughout the day. They also will log their progress in a wide range of exercises, sports and physical activities, each of which is worth a set amount of points.