Almost every college student knows the struggle of living a healthy lifestyle. The ‘Freshman 15’ seem impossible to avoid sometimes. Walking to Ping is the last thing one wants to do after a stressful day of classes. Some people find it easier to work out when they have a set plan to go with friends. CHAARG, a nationwide fitness organization, is dedicated to the fitness of college-aged girls, and starting next semester women at Ohio University will be able to join.
CHAARG, which stands for Changing Health Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls, was started at Ohio State University in 2012 by Elisabeth Tavierne, who still serves as the organization’s president. According to chaarg.com, Tavierne founded CHAARG to inspire her peers to become excited about exercise. Today, CHAARG is at 38 universities across the country, and it is still growing.
Elyse Lutz, a junior majoring in Sports Management, learned about CHAARG while visiting a friend at the University of Cincinnati. After learning about the organization and resonating with the mission statement, Lutz wanted to find out even more.
“My freshman year… I would just go straight to the treadmill or something. That’s just like what everybody is more comfortable with. But then, like as I got a little bit older, I loved the group fitness classes. Then I found CHAARG through my friend at UC and started it here,” says Lutz.
After discovering that she was able to install a chapter of CHAARG herself, she got right to work. On the website, there is an option to “Start a Chapter!” Lutz says the approval process lasted about two to three weeks. After applying, Lutz had to undergo a phone interview and two Skype interviews before finally being approved. Kelly Roderick, a graduate assistant in Campus Recreation at Ohio University, is the organization’s advisor. She was thrilled that Elyse reached out to her for the position.
“When I graduated from Ohio State, CHAARG hadn’t been around for very long and was just starting to gain recognition on campus. My senior year I was working as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, coaching at my high school and I was a full time student. At that time, I couldn’t participate or get involved, but I had always wanted to,” says Roderick.
Officially, as an advisor, it is Roderick’s job to sign the forms to ensure the club’s legitimacy. However, she plans on being as involved as she can be by attending executive meetings and helping the women involved empower themselves and find their fit.
Since the approval, Lutz and Roderick have sent out informational emails and have been getting some great feedback from excited potential members.
“On my email list I have around two hundred-fifty girls, so I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, and I’m so excited. After the info session, so many girls texted me and were like, ‘This got me so excited for CHAARG like I cannot wait!’ and I was like, ‘wow!’ Like it makes me feel so great,” says Lutz.
Lutz is especially excited for the impact she believes the organization will have on Ohio University, specifically.
“I think that it’s really important for us at OU with this party school around us to have a community where girls can come back and make their week really productive and really healthy,” she says.
With a plethora of excited members, CHAARG has started looking for an executive team.
“We’re trying to get our executive team started now so we can pretty much get everything organized so when we get started in January we can have fun too and go with the program and have all of our events planned,” says Lutz, when asked about the planning that has to be done before the program starts up spring semester.
Not including Lutz’s position of president, there are five other executive positions – media chair, membership chair, secretary, treasurer and two event coordinators. Lutz says she believes the event coordinators will have the most fun job since they will be working with local yoga studios in order to get a schedule together.
Once CHAARG starts up in January, there will be Studio Spotlights Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. The entire chapter is invited to Studio Spotlights, which are essentially a different group exercise every week. Girls will also be placed in small groups of about 10 to 12 girls that they can hang out with throughout the week. As long as girls are happy and healthy, CHAARG is serving its purpose.
“CHAARG forms a community of support and builds friendships that will last forever. Basically, I gives you a group of awesome friends who will not only motivate you to wake up at the crack of dawn to work out, but who will gladly indulge in some halo top ice cream on any given day,” says Roderick in regards to the goals of the organization.
“I want other girls to realize that working out is not painful. Going to Ping is not going to be like ‘Ugh I have to go to Ping,’ it’s going to be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to go to this super fun Zumba workout with the girls and we’ll go get ice cream after.’ Of course you’re going to treat yourself. We still have socials. It’s not something that you have to be on a strict diet or workout everyday for. You make it what you want,” says Lutz.
For more information about CHAARG, you can visit chaarg.com or contact Elyse Lutz at firstname.lastname@example.org.