By Emily Salvatori, Assistant Editor
West Liberty University became a part of the global initiative Exercise is Medicine this January. According to
exerciseismedicine.org, “Exercise is Medicine® on Campus (EIM-OC) is a program calling upon universities and colleges to engage in the promotion of physical activity as a vital sign of health.”
Dr. Catherine “Cathy” Monteroso, Interim Dean of the College of Education and Human Performance, said, “I believe the program will first improve the overall health and wellbeing of our students, bring greater awareness and support to the community and surrounding area, as well as attract students to attend WLU.”
Dr. Jason Metz, adviser of the Exercise is Medicine team on campus, worked to bring this initiative to West Liberty. Metz said, “I’m an ACSM certified individual, so I’ve known about the initiative for a lot of years, and I just thought this was the right time and place.”
“I believe it is a tremendous advantage for our students to have this resource available on campus. It demonstrates the cooperation of departments, programs and administration across campus to support the overall well being of the student,” Monteroso said. “The educational commitment of WLU goes beyond the classroom and supports the students’ total educational growth. I commend Dr. Jason Metz’s initiative in bringing the program to West Liberty.”
The Exercise is Medicine on campus team consist of Metz, the faculty adviser, Dr. Aaron Huffman, Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education, Christy Bennington, Director of Student Health Services, and students.
“I wanted to make it more of a student-run initiative than anything,” said Metz.
The students on the team are Kendra Johnson and Tiffany Noland (Exercise Physiology), Blake Williams and Joey Seabright (Teacher Education), Michael Games (Health and Physical Education), Emily Toland and Allie Farina (Community Education), Ryota Ngata (Athletic Training) and Jonah Estep (Psychology).
“The way the students on this team are functioning is they’re a liaison between the leadership team and their own representative student club,” Metz said. “So anybody from the student club can be a part of this initiative.”
“It is my honor to be a member of Exercise is Medicine and to organize events with wonderful other students,” Ngata said. “We let many students know how exercise improves our quality of life through some events.”
“We all come together and discuss ideas that are similar to each other’s majors,” Toland said. “Allie and I are honored to be a part of an organization that allows us to showcase the importance of disability services. We are looking forward to this year and hope to spread the word through upcoming events.”
Each of the student groups are finding ways to make the campus more physically active.
“From the exercise physiology perspective, the two students that are on the team from the exercise physiology program, they are working with the Exercise Physiology Club to help create an opportunity for students or faculty or anybody that wants help in the wellness center with learning to use the equipment,” Metz said. “Anybody can show up on a scheduled orientation day to receive guidance, like one on one guidance, on how to use the equipment.”
The Exercise is Medicine Initiative on Campus has a lot in store for West Liberty. Metz said, “Hopefully we’ll have a healthier student population. It’s also a great recruitment tool. I think it could provide a lot of peace of mind for parents sending their kids here for education knowing we value their kids’ health. On top of that, this initiative has done two things for the university as a whole. Our leadership team is on the registry and come February, as long as the application was accepted, we’re going to be listed as a gold level member Exercise is Medicine campus of which there are only 24 other campuses in the country with gold. So we’ll be number 25.”
They are also planning an event in October for National Exercise is Medicine month. While the date has not yet been set, students can look forward to a day full of activity, with a focus on complete inclusiveness.
“It’s going to be a day filled with physical activity and not just sport. We try to make sure it allows for anybody of any background, any demographic, and any ability to be able to participate in at least something that we’re going to be able to offer,” Metz said.
For more information on the Exercise is Medicine initiative, contact Metz at [email protected].
Photo Credit: Media Relations