From the classroom into Freshmen’s stomachs:
How three Kinesiology students have turned their studies into a real-life fight against the ‘Freshman 15’
Julia Bertens, now in her third year in the Kinesiology Program at the University of Guelph-Humber, gives her take on what her professor is calling ‘exceptional work’: “We’re just three Kinesiology students that wanted to do something for the better good.”
Ms. Bertens, along with fellow Kinesiology students Rose Wilson and Cynthia Jamieson, had noticed a trend by their second year. “People gained the Freshman 15,” she says.
She’s referring to a commonly used expression that describes the number of pounds often gained by students during their first year of university.
“Lifestyle change is the big thing,” explains Ms. Bertens. “You move into residence, your parents aren’t there to feed you, or to tell you what to eat.”
And so, the idea for the ‘Fight the Freshman 15’ campaign was born: a preventive education targeted at first-year students living on-campus. Essentially, as Ms. Bertens sees it, doing something for the better good.
The campaign designed by the three students began as a school project, but quickly grew into something much larger. They created pamphlets, posters, and a variety of social media tools all with common messaging: Avoid overeating when stressed or studying; Keep late night eating to a minimum; Schedule specific times to go to the gym and set goals.
Ms. Bertens explains that this campaign combines what they have learned so far at UofGH – everything from nutrition to exercise prescription to fitness to health promotion using social media.
It’s in this blend of knowledge and application that the University’s pedagogy is reflected, according to the students’ professor, Dr. Sarah Wilkinson.
“This is an exceptional way of bringing classroom learning outside,” says Dr. Wilkinson. “When students such as these have the skill and the desire, the University of Guelph-Humber offers a rare platform for involvement at this level.”
Ms. Bertens and her colleagues plan to continue educating students as they look for new ways to expand their campaign.
Learn more about the student-run campaign:
Facebook: @Fight The Freshman 15