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Let’s Walk: New Rhodes Initiative Helps To Promote Health and Wellness

Publication Date: 11/7/2012

At a time when health and wellness are increasingly important nationwide, Rhodes faculty, staff and students are literally on the move to make healthy living a reality on campus.

“Let’s Walk” is a new initiative sponsored by the Human Resources Office which kicked off the beginning of October. Members of the Rhodes community are invited to walk a one-mile loop together around the beautiful campus four days a week. Rhodes Student Associate Alex McMillan ’15 has been instrumental in organizing the effort and says that participation has been growing since the program began.

“The student associate who previously held this position came up with this one-mile track around Rhodes, which we posted online so that people could complete it on their own,” says McMillan. “But then we started thinking about how we could get staff and faculty involved to walk it together. Now, we have some people who come on a regular basis.”

On Mondays and Wednesdays, the walk begins at the Diehl statue, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is at McCoy Theatre. The walk, which takes place around the lunch hour, usually takes about 20 minutes to complete. Participants are invited to drop by for any day of the week, and some use iPhone apps like MapMyWalk to count their steps.

Graphic designer Larry Ahokas has been walking with some of his colleagues in the Office of Communications. He says that getting out and walking in the middle of the day has a positive effect on attitude and productivity.

“My job keeps me in my office and at a desk in front of a computer,” says Ahokas. “Once we get to our desks, we tend to stay there, and so this is a good way to get away for a while and to get some exercise.”

Rhodes Walks is part of the National Healthy Worksite Initiative. The program selects local employers to implement comprehensive workplace wellness plans. Let’s Walk is just one piece of the plan at Rhodes, which also includes the Faculty & Staff Health Trek. The Trek is a ten-month program that has the goal of helping to continue or develop lifelong wellness habits. Faculty and staff who participate earn wellness miles for healthy activities which range from brushing their teeth to running. Last year, 48 members of the faculty logged over 22,000 miles.

“You can earn miles for all sorts of activities, like aerobics, even cleaning and wearing your seat belt,” says McMillan. “The goal is to get enough miles to ‘travel’ all the way through Tennessee. For each checkpoint that you get to, you earn a certain prize. It’s a fun way to get people involved, and in the past there have been prizes like big screen TVs.”

McMillan has spoken to students about possibly implementing a student version of the Trek. In addition, Human Resources wants to install a healthy vending machine stocked with organic food in the Middle Ground on campus.

For Rhodes Walks, McMillan hopes to increase involvement by getting students to participate.

“Our goal is to get as many people involved as possible,” says McMillan. “There are so many health benefits to walking, and it’s important to get outside and get fresh air, especially when you’ve been sitting around in an office or a classroom all day.”

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Lucy Kellison ’13)

Tags: Campus Life, Faculty, Staff, Students

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