The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW challenges faculty to exercise, stay healthy

By Bethany Peterson/nw news editor

NW Campus faculty and staff have an excuse to exercise.

Started by Tonia Pannell in fall 2008, the faculty fitness challenge is designed to motivate NW Campus faculty and staff to leave their desks and exercise some.

“We are busy and focused,” Pannell said. “Breaking away from the desk is what we want.”

Faculty and staff who exercise for 30 minutes in one day get a sticker on their nametags that hang in the WPHE hallway. Participants who get 30 stickers receive a T-shirt.

“They [the faculty participants] joke about it, ‘I cannot believe I’m doing this for a sticker!’” Pannell said.

But do it they do.

“It seems silly, but it seems to work. At least, it worked for me,” said David Hill, an aviation instructor.

Hill has exercised off and on his whole life but said it was hard to stay motivated. He now exercises three to five times a week, depending on how many days he is on campus. He passed his one-year mark April 1.

“I would not be as likely to exercise without the wellness program,” he said.

Joan Shriver, computer science instructor, started exercising after last Christmas but joined the challenge soon after the semester started.

“I started and then I saw this thing, and I got really excited ’cause now I get a T-shirt,” she said.

She recently earned her T-shirt but has no plans to stop.

“You get this addiction to working out,” she said.

While Shriver says she is usually the last one in the gym, math instructor Debbie Curry says she makes use of the new early hour the gym is open to only the faculty and staff.

“I have to go early to get it in before school,” said Curry, who also teaches at a high school.

Curry said she splits her workout time between the elliptical machine and the stationary bikes.

“Both my brother and sister had heart attacks, and I refuse to join the club,” Curry said.

Since it began, participation in the fitness challenge has grown slowly but steadily, from 37 the first semester to 54 this spring, Pannell said.

Each new semester has a different slogan including Healthy Holiday in fall 2008. This semester is simply 2010 Fitness Challenge.

To mix things up, Pannell has organized an April Workout@Work calendar with 14 classes, averaging 20 minutes each on everything from So You Think You Cannot Dance? taught by Lacreacia Sanders, NW dance instructor, to Meet the Dumbbells! that Pannell teaches. Staff and faculty get stickers for attending classes as well as one for their workout.

“They love this month ’cause they get to do double duty,” Pannell said.

Because of schedule conflicts, some staff cannot get to the mini-classes, but they find plenty of motivation in the contact with students, contests with faculty and better health.

Kelly Clute, who has been in the program since it started, said that her favorite part is a competition with a co-worker.

“Kathryn [Knutson] and I fight over who has the most stickers,” she said.

She doesn’t have any specific goal she said, but she does like the results.

“My clothes don’t feel as tight, and some people have told me I look like I’ve lost weight,” Clute said.

Shriver also sees benefits in her closet.

“I have a new wardrobe I did not have to buy,” she said. “I also see a lot of my students over there.”

Shriver says the extra out-of-class connection is important to her.

And the bug is spreading. Shriver and Clute both said they encourage co-workers and other faculty to join, and Curry is working on getting her family to exercise.

“Maybe I can encourage my grandkids,” Curry said.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian