Each week I devote 20-plus hours to college athletics. Each week I dedicate hours to cardio workouts, lifting sessions and soccer training. Though each week my schedule may be hectic, it is important to appreciate these workouts for what they are: free. I don’t pay for my trainers to kick my ass, and I definitely don’t pay to run my fastest mile time.
But, student-athletes are just a small fraction of the student body at the University of Wisconsin. That makes me wonder about the other 40,000 students, specifically females. What are they doing to stay fit?
There are nearly 900 student organizations on this campus, and each one is different — different mottos, unique interests and a wide variety of members. I’m impressed with the wide variety — don’t get me wrong — but how many emphasize a female’s health and fitness?
It wasn’t until I talked with my roommate, Caroline Greavu, that I got my answer.
Caroline is on the executive board of CHAARG — a new campus organization of 180 UW females. It aims to empower females mentally, physically and emotionally through emphasizing health and fitness. CHAARG — Changing Health, Attitude and Actions to Re-create Girls — incorporates a variety of fun workouts to accommodate each girl’s specific body. From dance, cardio, Zumba and weights, girls become familiar with a variety of workouts to revitalize and transform their bodies.
I was intrigued. I kept asking Caroline questions that were in dire need of answers. I wanted to know every tedious detail behind this explosive idea. But most of all, I needed to know who the creator is. Once again, I got my answer.
“My mission is to empower every CHAARG girl to be the best version of herself,” CHAARG founder Elisabeth Tavierne said when I spoke with her. “I truly hope that all of our members find their passion for health [and] fitness — whatever that means to them.”
This movement is just getting started, though. Within a little more than a year, I was impressed to find out CHAARG has become a renowned organization, reaching 52 campuses across the nation. This is the type of movement I was hoping for. This is the movement every female college student needs to be a part of.
The organization is quickly expanding from coast to coast —showing the vitality and importance of emotional and physical health. Female students everywhere are grasping onto this empowering movement with hopes of being a part of a worldwide feminist trend.
According to the National College Health Association’s Spring 2016 National College Health Assessment, only 19 percent of female students do a moderate-intensity cardio or aerobic exercise five to seven days a week for at least 30 minutes.
That is nearly one in every five girls.
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We study our notes to the verge of tears and push our minds to a point of insanity in school, but we do not choose to reward our bodies under the same circumstances.
When females hand over their freedom of choice by conforming to the stereotypical “elliptical workout” or settle for a leisurely walk because “running is too hard,” we directly surrender our protected freedoms because of a social pressure.
That is why CHAARG is different. This empowering organization separates itself from campus wellness organizations, gym memberships and fitness centers by simply giving girls different options to exercise. CHAARG introduces creative ways to break the elliptical stereotype. It is about each girl broadening her horizons, gaining the courage to ignore societal pressure and growing into the woman she was meant to be: A strong, confident healthy young woman.
Steph Fabry ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in journalism and strategic communications.