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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

St. Joe’s Campus Recreation hosts National Fitness Day

Alex Zalepa ’19 participates in the bench press contest on National Fitness Day. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

St. Joe’s Campus Recreation took part in the National Recreational Sports and Fitness Day on Saturday Feb. 22 by hosting a litany of events throughout the day for students to get active in campus recreation.

St. Joe’s participates annually in National Recreational Sports and Fitness Day as part of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), which oversees all intramural and club sports in the same manner that the NCAA supervises varsity sports.

The events ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and were mostly held in O’Pake Recreation Center. The events included an express fit class for faculty and staff, a HIIT (high intensity interval training) instructional pop up session and a class in CPR. The day was capped off with the prized event, the weightlifting competition.

Conor Lesch, the assistant director of campus recreation, helped administer the agenda of events and was the supervisor for the weightlifting contest. He said the students’ enthusiasm in O’Pake was a reflection of the entire campus.

“We are an extremely active college campus,” Lesch said. “Just keeping students active is the main goal, especially in the winter. It’s easy to stay in your dorm, so getting people out and helping them get active is always important.”

Zalepa bench presses in O’Pake

Jake Wolfe ’19, a former St. Joe’s track and field short sprinter, who participated in Fitness Day, lauded Lesch’s efforts in presenting a wide variety of activities that any student could participate in. However, like many others, he enjoyed the weightlifting contest the most.

“The bench press contest administered by Conor was great,” Wolfe said. “It acted as an excellent way to bring diverse individuals together to encourage fitness, wellness and good vibes.”

Wolfe himself assisted Lesch in running the competition, as he spotted his friend Terry Severe ’ 20 nearby working out in O’Pake and told him he should take part in the competition. Severe said he knew about the competition, but was a little hesitant to take part until Wolfe’s invitation convinced him. The opportunity to have an outlet from normal life is what fitness and the weightlifting competition is all about, according to Severe

“Being on a college campus, you’re always so caught up in homework,” Severe said. “It’s a break from class or school and being able to go to the gym and get in the zone for an hour, it really gives yourself some physical nourishment.”

Exposing students to the many advantages of physical fitness is one of the main goals of National Fitness Day. The Campus Recreation staff worked to make the events as welcoming as possible, and according to Wolfe, they succeeded.

Lauren Rutt ’20 partakes in the bench press competition. 

The weightlifting competition was open to both men and women. There were a lot of participants and a variety of events. The classes hosted intend to be applicable to daily life, such as the CPR class.

“[The weightlifting competition] went well,” Lesch said. “It fluctuates year to year. The CPR class always has a lot of people sign up for it and it helps because anyone can go and participate. The bench press competition is always well received and it’s so much fun.”

Campus recreation and students alike hope this turnout is a sign of things to come on campus. It is not just one day, but a continuous active lifestyle that Lesch and his colleagues hope to implement on campus. Wolfe was of a similar mindset.

“I am a huge advocate of encouraging health and fitness, as it is such a vital way to enhance someone’s quality of life,” Wolfe said.

Lesch said that National Recreation and Fitness Day, which is hosted annually on Feb. 22, comes at the right time of year. Not only does it get students in the mindset of being active before it is warm enough to exercise outside, but it caters to those who procrastinate their fitness.

“It’s great because we have spring break coming up, so that brings attention to fitness,” Lesch said. “You have the people coming in a week or two before spring break because they’re going to be going on vacation. But really it’s just kicking the season off right before the weather gets nicer.”

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