Introducing A Winter Warm Up

The third annual Be Active Challenge hosted by the Athletic and Wellness Center will run from Feb. 4 until March 16, culminating with the NIRSA (National Intramural Recreational Sports Association) Be Active Challenge Day.

The Athletic and Wellness Center experiences its busiest time during the start of semesters, especially the spring semester. By running the Challenge from February to March, the Center hopes to “engage students and get them involved, to keep active in friendly competition,” Director of Wellness and Recreation Keith Kenney said. “Especially this time of year, everyone’s inside because of the weather.”

Kenney said the challenge caters to students with varied gym experience.

“Participating in the Be Active Challenge does not necessarily mean you have to be a weightlifter, or a bodybuilder,” Kenney said. “We try to hit every type of student, not just the traditional gym goers.”

Points are capped at 10 points per person, per day. Kenney said this rule is enforced to prevent people from overtraining.

Students sign in before activities using designated binders and at the end of each week, points are tallied and an email update is sent out. They’re “cheesy weekly fun updates, so students know what’s going on,” Kenney said.

At the end of the challenge, the top three teams with the highest points earn prizes, with a grand prize of 300 Hawk Dollars. Other prizes include an Outdoor Pursuits trip, athletic gear and intramural champions T-shirts.

“We weigh things by time first,” Kenney said. “But we also give things that we think are more beneficial more weight, like three points for a health assessment, and three points for a personal training session.”

Each year, the challenge has experienced an increase in participants, which the Center hopes will continue this year.

The Be Active Challenge was run differently in the second year, according to Kenney.

“Students logged in and submitted a minimum amount of time that they exercised,” Kenney said. “The time was very low, and we felt a disconnect from the students. It seemed to run itself.”

New Paltz students were entered into a raffle through FitCampus, a national fitness competition which takes place exclusively on college campuses and  the winners were chosen from a national pool. This greatly decreased their chances for prizes and did not engage students as well as the first model, Kenney said. Kenney and his staff decided to return to the first model for this year’s Be Active Challenge.

Students aren’t alone in their fitness quest. The faculty version of the Be Active Challenge has run for two years in a row.

Liz Sydney, a third-year marketing and international business double-major who works as a Zumba instructor and Zumbathon coordinator, said faculty members were hesitant to participate in the challenge at first.

“You don’t want students to see you…vulnerable. Sweating,” she said.

Kenney said he has seen the faculty’s attitude change over the years.

“Their enthusiasm is ridiculous,” Kenney said. “They’re fighting over points.”

Christina Cordier, the coordinator of the Challenge and the assistant director of Wellness and Recreation for fitness, put together a series of classes just for faculty and staff.

“We hope the Challenge will expose students to a plethora of activities that they’ll carry with them into the world at large,” Cordier said.

Online registration for the Challenge will run until Feb. 4. The captains’ meeting will be in the Athletic and Wellness Center’s Student Athlete lounge on Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, find the Be Active Challenge on Facebook or email Christina Cordier at