Chapman University’s fitness challenge provides healthy motivation for students.
Sometimes students need a bit of motivation to workout, eat healthy and live mindfully. With this in mind, Chapman University in Orange, California, created the Chapman Fitness Challenge, a semester-long program that consists of a personal challenge and three, three-week-long mini challenges.
Luke Hamlin, a graduate assistant at Chapman University’s Student Union and Fitness Center, explained the challenge is meant to motivate students to develop and maintain healthy habits, and to increase the connection between the fitness center and students.
“We wanted to create a community within exercise,” said Hamlin. “Our gym gets anywhere from 850 to 950 people a day using it, which is a huge number, and the fitness challenge is a great opportunity to build community.”
To encourage students to participate, Chapman University offers incentives that range from gift cards and movie tickets to Disneyland passes and Beats headphones. Funding for the prizes comes from the dean of students.
Last semester a little over 200 students participated, and the school hopes to reach 350 next semester. To track the program, Chapman University uses 2act, a website powered by Forward Momentum. The 2act website allows students to log their activities and shows their standing compared to other students.
Lisa Hardebeck, a student at Chapman University, has participated in the challenge for the past two semesters. In the last two challenges she has won a number of prizes, including gift cards and a Fitbit. “It was a good way to have motivation for a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “I’m actually in law school at Chapman, so I’m very busy.” Despite her hectic schedule, the challenge motivated her to workout five to six days a week.
Currently, the program works on an honor system, with students logging their activities without verification. Hamlin explained the school hopes to change that next year. “We want to make it a check-in,” he said. “Like if someone attends a Zumba class, we want to be able to have people sign-in or check-in and verify they did it. But right now it’s just the honor system.”
Since the goal of the program is engagement, an honor system hasn’t been an issue. “The challenge’s [purpose] is to bring awareness to a healthy lifestyle,” said Hamlin.