Michigan State University is one of only 153 universities and colleges around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine®, or EIM, for its efforts to create a culture of health and well-being on campus.
For the sixth year in a row, MSU earned gold-level designation from the Exercise is Medicine® On Campus, or EIM-OC, program. MSU also earned the COVID Conqueror badge, a new honor given to campuses that demonstrated creative adaptations to physical activity programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jim Pivarnick — who serves as faculty adviser for the program as well as the director for the MSU Center for Physical Activity and Health and is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology — said Kristin Traskie, who is part of the EIM-OC leadership team, and many others have been vital to the program’s success.
“Especially during a global pandemic, I am proud to see that MSU has received a Gold Level award for our ACSM Exercise is Medicine on Campus program,” said Pivarnik. “Kristin and her team have worked tirelessly to adapt their programming to such challenging times, and all Spartans will benefit from their dedication.”
“More than ever this past year, our EIM-OC program has helped us discover innovative ways to get students and the campus community more engaged in their health and well-being — and to transform their understanding of the many benefits of movement,” said Traskie, EIM-OC leadership team member and Fitness and Wellness Program coordinator. “For the past six years, MSU EIM-OC has invested in building a well-being culture that enhances healthy lifestyle behaviors and the overall health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. We are proud to continue focusing on movement as a key behavior that can improve the physical, mental and social health of all Spartans.”
Robyn Stuhr, vice president of Exercise is Medicine noted the importance of programs like these on college campuses.
“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and equip students with tools to cultivate lifelong physical activity habits, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stuhr. “These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.”
The MSU EIM-OC program began in 2014 and is led by the Department of Kinesiology and the Health Promotion Department within Student Health and Wellness. The program was active on campus over the past year with virtual events and programs like the Healthy Homecoming Step Challenge, a speaker series, ACTIVE Spartans Virtual Exercise Prescription, Ask the Trainer and a registered student organization.
The EIM-OC RSO worked hard to adapt opportunities for students to stay active as they studied remotely, said Fiona Baughman, the RSO’s president.
“Being able to lead and support this resilient group of my peers throughout the pandemic to continue the passion for physical and mental health this past year was nothing short of a remarkable experience,” Baughman said. “This time in our lives truly exposed how important and integral our health, wellness and physical activity are to our lives and academic success. I’m proud of the EIM-OC RSO for remaining strong throughout the challenges this year. Together, we provided creative variations of our offerings and activities aimed at supporting and embracing movement as part of the daily campus culture at MSU.”
Of the 153 campuses recognized this year, 73 received gold, 59 silver and 21 bronze. All gold, silver and bronze universities and colleges will be officially recognized in June as part of the 2021 virtual Exercise is Medicine World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting.
EIM-OC calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health and encourages faculty, staff and students to work together to improve the health and well-being of the campus community.