All posts by Colleen Fitzgibbons

Meet the New Health Educator

The Department of Recreation and Wellness has a new, yet familiar, face among the staff.  Karyn Smith started as the new Health Educator with the department this past October.

Though she started her new position at BGSU this fall, she is not completely new to the campus. Smith received her Master’s in Public Health through the Northwest Ohio Consortium for Public Health and was a Graduate Assistant at the Student Recreation Center.

Before coming to Bowling Green, Smith grew up in an Ohio small town called Hamler where she graduated from Patrick Henry High School. Upon graduation, Smith attended Northern Kentucky University where she majored in Exercise Science with a Health minor, played basketball all four years and was a personal trainer.

Once she graduated from NKU and received her MPH, she was hired at Owens Corning as the Program Manager, where she worked on employee fitness. She was in charge of personal training, group exercise and nutrition programming. After a year and a half, Smith came back to BGSU this fall as the Health Educator.

Smith is in charge of the WellAware Program, which promotes employee wellness. She also supervises the Group-X and personal trainers, while working with the Peer Educators at BGSU.

Karyn Smith has been a personal trainer for four years.

Smith said she enjoys her new job, the environment and the people she works with.

“The Wellness Connection is very upbeat,” Smith said. “All of us have the same passion.”

Besides her new job, Smith enjoys working out, being outside and running. Smith also enjoys flipping houses with her husband Ryan and friend.

While she flips houses with her husband, she also flips her fellow employee’s fitness.

Smith’s passion is fitness and she has embraced that passion by sharing her knowledge and creating a new program.

“It’s a fun holiday challenge for faculty and staff,” Smith said.

The program is called “Maintain don’t Gain,” which is available to all BGSU faculty and staff for free. Participants receive practical tips, recipes and other information to help them successfully navigate through the holiday season. Participants also receive activity logs and food diaries to track progress. All those who either maintain or lose weight during the season win a prize.

“Research has shown that the average person consumes an extra 600 calories per day between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Smith said.

Smith said she wants to create an environment where healthy choices are easier choices.

As a certified personal trainer for the past four years, Smith also enjoys working with clients, preferably the ones that most personal trainers would not look forward to.

“My favorite clients are the ones that absolutely hate exercising,” Smith said. “

Smith likes being creative and finding fun ways to help these clients live active lifestyles and find a physical activity that they learn to love.

Smith has goals for her new position as Health Educator. She wants to revamp the personal training program, create new and exciting Group-X classes, provide employees with the tools and resources to help them and help the Student Wellness Network and Peer Educators continue to grow and increase programs and awareness on campus.

“BG will be the healthiest campus of them all,” Smith said.

Students Relieve Stress before Heading Home for Break

Stress was released and fun was had at the Department of Recreation and Wellness’ third annual Stress Free Zone before Thanksgiving break.

Students enjoyed a night of fun and stress-relieving activities at the Student Recreation Center Thursday, Nov. 18. The stress-free activities included free food and drinks, prizes, a DJ, dodge ball, three on three basketball tournament, Wii Bowling, yoga, art and crafts, climbing wall, meditation and relaxation techniques, human bowling and an inflatable obstacle course.

Senior Jillian Urig, member of the Student Nutrition Association, educated students on how to eat healthy while stressed.

The event was sponsored by; Recreation and Wellness, Student Wellness Network, BGSU Bookstore, Student Nutrition Association, BGSU Counseling Center and the Falcon Parent and Family Association.

Britani Williams, a senior intern with the Wellness Connection, was in charge of putting the event together. She worked with and coordinated a group of freshman in order to create, organize and publicize the event.

“I had never planned an event, so it was very different from anything I had done before,” Williams said.

Over 100 students attended the event. Considering it was the premier of the Harry Potter movie, senior Dietetics major, Jillian Urig said it was a good turnout.

“I think the event was very well run and organized,” Urig said.

Urig is a member of the Student Nutrition Associate and held table display for students to present information on how to snack healthy when stressed out. The table consisted of a display of healthy stress relieving foods and a few samples such as dark nuts for students to try.

“We wanted to give students the information they needed so the next time they were stressed out they could make a healthy stress relieving decision,” Urig said. “Instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips or a tub of ice cream, we wanted to give students healthy, but stress relieving options.”

Chelsea Verhoff, senior HDFS major, also volunteered at the event, with a slightly different role.

“My favorite part was the free food and watching people do the human bowling,” Verhoff said.

Verhoff, who is also an executive member of the Student Wellness Network, helped with the human bowling activity.

Students filled out evaluation forms at the end of the night to receive a free stress ball. The results were mostly positive and showed that most students’ favorite part of the event was the free food, yoga, arts and crafts and basketball.

“My other favorite part of the Stress Free Zone was actually seeing it come together and watching people enjoy the event,” Williams said.

Gradute Assistant Eric Teske and Senior Chelsea DeSouza roll a student to the pins for Human Bowling at the event.

Internship and Practicum Students Wanted for Recreation and Wellness

Are you looking for an on-campus internship or practicum for the spring semester? Look no further, Recreation and Wellness is now accepting applications for next semester from a wide variety of majors.

The internships and practicums are open to all majors including recreation and tourism, sport management, marketing and journalism.

“We base the jobs on what the academic credentials are of the student,” Lona Leck, Assistant Director of the Department of Recreation and Wellness, said.

Students can apply to the various departments within Recreation and Wellness including the Ice Arena, Intramurals and Sport Clubs, Youth and Family, advertising, Forrest Creason Golf Course, Perry Field House, Student Recreation Center and Wellness Connection.

Leck believes having interns and practicums within the department helps the staff and broadens the knowledge of the department overall.

“We want to get those new ideas from students,” Leck said. “You know what our programs are lacking more than we do.”

Leck also said the department sometimes gets lucky enough to find an intern or practicum student who they hire full-time.

Not only does interning or having a practicum with Recreation and Wellness benefit the department, but also the students.

“It’s a great experience to put on a resume,” Leck said.

Chris McDaniel, a senior Tourism and Event Planning major, interns with Recreation and Wellness and works on marketing in the Perry Field House. McDaniel said he feels he is gaining a lot of valuable knowledge that is going to help him in his future career.

Carolyn Deas, Senior Sports Management major also enjoys having her practicum at the with the Department of Recreation and Wellness.

“As a practicum student, you learn how to plan an event from the very beginning, from contract to execution,” Deas said. “And it’s rewarding to see it progress over time.”

Leck also said working with the department gives students a “taste of what the work in Recreation is really like.”

Students can  only gain valuable resume-worthy experience and enjoy where they work.

We’re really laid back, but we get our work done,” Deas said. “But that doesn’t stop us from taking a few minutes out of our lunch break to fly a kite, which we’ve done.”

While there are multiple internship and practicum opportunities available within the department, students are encouraged to apply early for positions and not wait until the start of the semester.

Leck also recommends students follow the instructions on the web site.

“We’re most impressed with students who follow instructions,” Leck said.

For those interested in applying for a spring internship, follow the link to learn more about the positions offered and apply now.

Tai Chi’s Secret to Stress Relieving and Relaxation

Exercise is a key way to de-stress such as lifting weights, going for a run or taking a brisk walk around campus. One exercise that only few students are in on the secret of stress relieving and relaxation is Tai Chi.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Tai Chi, also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. To do tai chi, you perform a series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner.”

Ashley Miller, senior Dietetics major, is the expert Tai Chi Group-X instructor and believes the class is great exercise and is a stress reliever. She has been doing Tai Chi for three years now and fell in love with it when she took a class at the YMCA in Sandusky.

“I think it’s fun and interesting,” Miller said. “Everyone should try it at least once.”

The average number of participants in her class ranges from two to six. Though Miller is enthusiastic about her consistent regulars in Tai Chi, there is still room for more participants and encourages more to sign up to enjoy a fun, relaxing and comforting.

“It’s not like the spinning or abs classes with hundreds of people,” Miller said.

One reason Miller pointed to the lack of attendance could be the change in time. Another cause for the low attendance could be a misunderstanding of the ancient exercise.

Tai Chi is a low impact workout, which means it does not involve cardio. Miller said Tai Chi is an exercise one might do after a high impact cardio workout. This low impact exercise has its benefits.

Miller said the benefits of Tai Chi include relaxation, body awareness, balance and blood circulation. It also helps with arthritis and joint pain. Better posture, a boost of immunity, an increase in mental awareness and clarity are also among the benefits.

Tai Chi is not for everyone though. Miller said it takes time to see the benefits and the first time may be boring for some people and then they choose not to return. However, Miller supports Tai Chi.

“It’s a real thing if you just stick with it; I actually broke a board,” Miller said. “Tai Chi helped me kind of relax and understand body awareness and special awareness.”

Miller teaches Tai Chi every Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center. There is still time to purchase a Group-X pass to join and enjoy the benefits of Tai Chi.

Ice Arena Reopens

The anticipation is about to end. This Homecoming Weekend, Saturday, October 2, the BGSU Ice Arena is holding their grand re-opening called Then, Now and Always.

Starting at noon the Ice Arena will be open for free public skate and Skate with the Falcons Autograph session followed by celebratory remarks including Director of the Ice Arena, Jamie Baringer, and President Carol Cartwright.

Other activities during the reopening include inflatables, refreshments, and student and community organization display booths.

Attendees can see the renovations in the Ice Arena. Baringer said a lot of the renovations were more behind the scene kind of stuff.

The renovations include: new compressors, chillers, dehumidification system, new lighting over the main ice, new roof and gutter system, masonry cleaning, conversion of the Curling Ice to multi-purpose ice, restoration of old locker rooms and addition of new locker rooms.