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Silver Level “Exercise Is Medicine” status puts campus in elite company nationally

Jacksonville University joins only 20 other U.S. higher education campuses that have earned Silver Level status from the Exercise Is Medicine on Campus global health movement.

Last year, the campus was presented Bronze Level status by movement founder Dr. Bob Sallis before a packed Terry Concert Hall during Charter Week. It is one of only 106 campuses in the U.S. that have the overall designation as an “EIM Campus” because it has made a campus-wide effort to promote fitness. Just two of those campuses are in Florida: JU and Florida Gulf Coast University.

Silver Level means the campus is moving beyond awareness and engaging the campus as well as the community in exercise and wellness opportunities, said Dr. Heather Hausenblas, Professor of Kinesiology in the School of Applied Health Sciences in the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences.

“Education helps ensure that knowledge of the importance of physical activity to health is shared and incorporated into campus life,” said Hausenblas, who is a key driver of the EIM initiative on campus. “Silver campuses work to promote these ideals toward the ultimate goal of incorporating physical activity as a part of routine health care provider visits.”

The EIM-OC program is designed to create awareness that young adults may need assistance in keeping fit and healthy as they traverse the new challenges and environment of college, with its independent living, financial responsibility and stress in academic and career pursuits.

“Each of these campuses has made a difference at their school by making physical activity a priority,” said Dr. Carena Winters, chair of the national Exercise is Medicine on Campus program. “These college and university leaders are making movement a part of the daily campus culture and providing students the tools necessary to strengthen healthy physical activity habits that will benefit them throughout their life.”

Among many activities and programs that have helped it earn its EIM status, JU has:

  • Hosted classes that teach students the fundamentals of EIM-OC (EIM On Campus) and the students’ role in fulfilling the mission of EIM;
  • Trained students to educate campus community members on EIM and the importance of physical activity as a vital sign;
  • Conducted campus or public educational seminars on physical activity, including a Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Sallis in 2016;
  • Had campus healthcare professionals educate patients on the importance of physical activity as medicine through brochures, handouts, word of mouth and more;
  • Under the supervision of Dr. Gail Maetozo, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, had students provide personal training to JU faculty and staff members. The “clients” are screened and provided with twice-per-week personal training over a semester to accomplish their fitness goals;
  • Had articles on EIM written by faculty and published in media outlets such as U.S. News and World Report, The Florida Times-Union, 904Fitness and the Jacksonville Running Newsletter;
  • Participated in the annual First Coast Heart Walk, a three-mile community event promoting walking and heart health;
  • Hosted events that promote physical activity, such as monthly “EIM Days” and campus activities such as dance marathons and walk/runs; and
  • Created campus-wide options for exercise, including “Jbike,” offering bikes free to travel around campus; organizing a campus walking group; encouraging participation in intramural sports; and providing Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant facilities to meet the needs of a diverse student body.
  • Completed an overhaul of the University’s Fitness Center showing the administration’s dedication to health and wellness initiatives on campus. Use of the fitness center is available to students, staff, and faculty at no charge; and
  • Ensured that JU facilities are either ADA complaint or that ADA accommodations are made when needed. The new JU fitness center’s equipment was strategically placed for ADA compliance.

For more on Exercise is Medicine at Jacksonville University, click here.