Kent State CHAARG adapts to new environment, connecting and providing workouts to members virtually

Kent State CHAARG members enjoy coffee after a “Friday Fuel” walk/run.

Kenzie Johnston Reporter

Even with the new virtual environment, Kent State CHAARG has continued to provide workouts, socials and the ability to connect with others to members during COVID-19. 

CHAARG is a national organization offering a health and fitness community with over 100+ chapters on college campuses across the United States. Ambassador Maria Ferrato, a senior English major, leads the Kent State chapter alongside six other executive board members. Ferrato serves as the bridge between the national organization and the Kent chapter. 

The organization focuses on helping students “find their fit” on campus, and Ferrato feels even during these tough times the community is offering a lot of support to those who need it.  

“Fostering the community hasn’t really changed. We’re still empowering girls and giving them the environment to meet and connect with like-minded people,” Ferrato said.

The organization switched its events so they are completely virtual. This includes their weekly workouts, SLAM (self-love and meditation) events, socials and other events the group puts on.

Weekly workouts are held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. via Zoom. The workouts vary each week, and the group brings in different workout instructors. Workouts include several styles such as HIIT (high intensity interval training), belly dancing, yoga and beatboxing. 

The group also holds SLAM events to allow members to self reflect and connect. According to the group’s treasurer Marjorie Sovacool, who is a senior sociology major, the SLAM events really brought the community closer and allowed the community to open up more. 

The student organization has undergone many changes to be able to provide members with unique workouts during this time. All activities are run by the executive board.

According to Sovacool, the board is focusing on making sure they are still making genuine connections with members even though they are online. Recently they held their welcome party online via Zoom on Feb. 2. The executive board is utilizing features on Zoom such as breakout rooms to help members form relationships in smaller groups.

“We know there is a lot of unknown right now, so we are really trying to focus on keeping things fun and fresh for our members,” Sovacool said.

Social media is one of the ways the group connects with members. The group is active on Instagram and encourages member participation. The group typically posts daily on their Instagram account.

Anna Garvin, the organization’s vice president of media and a senior marketing major, runs the group’s social media channels and takes photos for the group. Garvin utilizes hashtags and challenges for members to complete to help with engagement.

Members are also encouraged to create a personal CHAARG Instagram. These are personalized by using their names and then including “_inchaarg.” According to Garvin, the Instagrams are a great way for the community to interact and also encourage each other.

Even though the group is based around fitness, it is also committed to helping students find a community of like-minded people in the college environment, according to Ferrato. 

“We understand that sometimes it is hard to meet new people in college, so we try to provide an empowering and supportive community to anyone and everyone,” Ferrato expressed.

The organization is open to all students on campus and students can join at any time. They operate on an open-door policy and are always welcoming new members, said Sovacool.

“We hope to give students an opportunity at a social experience and allow them to meet new people with similar passions and interests,” Garvin said.

Some upcoming events they have planned are their Galentine’s Day event on Feb. 12, weekly workouts and scheduled socials. Members receive a newsletter that lays out all events for the organization every week.

While switching to a completely online way of operating, the organization has still been able to connect with students effectively. The executive board has adapted quickly and works to ensure everything is accessible to everyone, according to Garvin.

“We are a student organization that adheres to anyone and everyone and allows students to ‘find their fit’ on campus with not only just fitness, but also really connecting with others and making amazing friendships,” Sovacool said.

Kenzie Johnston covers fitness. Contact her at [email protected]