E&H Steps up Physical Activity Requirements of Students
In response to increasing evidence that Americans are out of shape, Emory & Henry College has developed an instructional physical activity program that requires all students to complete two physical activity courses prior to graduation.
Recently, Emory & Henry was awarded a $4,712 grant from the McGraw Hill Publishing Company to help enhance this effort by supporting research into the socio-cultural factors that enhance or deter college student participation in physical activity. The grant also supports the development of additional courses in response to the research.
The goal of the program is to provide a wide range of physical activity offerings to meet the diverse needs of the entire student population, said Beverly Hatch, an E&H physical education professor and director of the E&H Lifetime Wellness Program. Ultimately, the College hopes to contribute to a larger cultural shift in the understanding of the importance of wellness and exercise.
Hatch said the project will offer physical activity courses that align with a “pleasure and participation sports model.”
The model, which was designed by noted sport sociologist Jay Coakley, emphasizes democratic leadership, inclusive participation, and the use of cooperation and competition. It places strong emphasis on good health, enjoyment, personal expression and social relationships.
“The emphasis is on inclusion, not on defeating and dominating opponents,” Hatch said. “This is about wellness and establishing physical activities that can last throughout college and beyond.”
Physical activity courses that are currently a part of the program include yoga, fly fishing, archery, bowling, kayaking, adventure training, rock climbing and self defense for women, to name a few.
“The evidence that shows young people are increasingly inactive is mounting,” Hatch said. “This general lack of fitness and physical activity has strong, lifelong implications for these young people. As a liberal arts institution devoted to the mind, body and soul of our students, Emory & Henry has a responsibility to address this problem.”
Three E&H faculty members will participate in the research for the project: Hatch and two other members of the Physical Education Department, Joy Scruggs and Rebecca Buchanan.