Student Health Challenge at RIT ‘Exorcises’ Excuses

Students resolve to get and stay active even before the New Year

There are no excuses. While most of us resign ourselves to the influx of holiday foods and expansion of our waistlines (and vow to do something about it come the New Year), a group of students at Rochester Institute of Technology are learning to get active and stay healthy right now.

RIT’s Body Positive Team and Residence Hall Association teamed up to issue students a Health Challenge this winter quarter. And 70 students jumped, literally, for the chance.

“This challenge is about living a healthy life and not being sedentary, especially during the holiday break when many people get lax about their health routines,” says Michelle Blinnd, wellness instructor at RIT and co-chair of the Body Positive Team.

A web-based program, the health challenge assigns each student a wellness mentor from RIT’s faculty and staff. Students keep an exercise and food journal on the Web site and meet with their wellness mentor for an hour a week to help them stick to their goals.

Students set goals for 12 weeks (through the end of February) in three areas: nutrition, physical fitness and wellness. So, from cutting out caffeine and eating more fruits and vegetables to learning how to design a safe weight-training program, students are encouraged to learn new healthy habits, beginning a new and better life, with no excuses. Plus, students who reach their goals are entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of the 12-week challenge.

Next quarter, the program will be rolled out to a larger group of up to 300 students. There’s already a waiting list.

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