Student-Run Fitness Challenge Supports Social Movement

Emily Barrett, assistant director of communications
Image of a video workout demonstration led by a graduate PT student
Graduate physical and occupational students lead one-minute exercises online daily to raise funds and awareness to benefit local organizations fighting racial injustice.

Protests and rallies in recent weeks have illuminated continued social and racial injustices in the United States and across the globe, and the growing need for systemic reform.

Student leaders in the pro-bono Chester Community Clinic are demonstrating their support and commitment to racial justice and equality with a summer fitness donation challenge that benefits local organizations committed to combatting racism. 

As clinic student leaders, we truly believe that black lives matter and we want to raise money and awareness in support of our black community members. —Emma Hirshman '22, graduate physical therapy student and clinic leader

The month-long challenge invites all members of the Widener community to sign-up and follow one-minute exercise videos posted daily on Facebook by graduate physical therapy and occupational therapy students through July 15.
For each exercise completed, the clinic will donate $1.00 to a local organization, such as CityTeam Ministries and Black Lives Matter, in the participant’s name.

As future healthcare professionals, it is our job to advocate for our patients to the best of our ability. —Brittany McCullough '22, graduate physical therapy

According to McCullough, advocating for patients includes acknowledging and working to change racial disparities that exist within the health care system. 

"Research and statistics show that black patients and patients of color do not receive the same level of care as their white counterparts and it’s our job to educate ourselves and our fellow healthcare professionals to have the utmost respect and level of care for all of our patients, regardless of color," McCullough said.

The challenge comes after months of mandated stay-at-home orders across the region, which for many have meant a lack of regular exercise and interaction with others. Students hope this challenge will engage participants physically and socially.

We wanted to create a positive environment for anyone who wants to join and stay active during quarantine while supporting an important cause not only for our local community but for the movement that black lives indeed matter. —Ari Alexoudis '22, graduate occupational therapy 

The fitness challenge joins a number of initiatives that Widener have launched in the call for justice and equality, including conversations led by students, faculty, and staff to educate one another and develop ways to engage in meaningful change on campus and in the community.

As conversations continue to evolve across the nation and at Widener, second-year graduate physical therapy student Kristina Taguwa hopes that members of the Pride will take advantage of this opportunity to raise funds for community organizations.

“We encourage our fellow Widener students, faculty, and staff to do their own research and join us in being on the right side of history,” Taguwa said.

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