Students race across campus, raise money for American Heart Association


Angela Cecys, pre-human development family studies major, correctly identifies a vegetable as part of one of the tasks to earn points during HeartChase, on March 16. Photo by Jacob Byk.

Amanda Knauer

More than 100 students, faculty, staff and residents of Kent faced winter-like weather Saturday morning as they participated in HeartChase, an event sponsored by the American Heart Association.

Participants had to make their way around campus to collect points from checkpoints.

The event was a collaborative effort involving the Department of Recreational Services, the Center for Student Involvement, the College of Education, Health and Human Services, the Division of Human Resources and the American Heart Association.

Abby Millsaps, marketing coordinator for the Department of Recreational Services, said the committee has been working on bringing this event to campus for about six months.

“HeartChase started about a year ago, and the whole thing is that it is supposed to be geared to youth and students,” Millsaps said. “We just thought this would be a really fun way to get people involved on campus, get them doing something really fun on Saint Patrick’s day weekend and raise money for the American Heart Association.”

Michael Long, youth market director for Great Rivers Affiliate and the primary contact with the American Heart Association for this event, worked with the planning committee to execute HeartChase.

“The American Heart Association’s 2020 impact goal is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, while reducing deaths of cardiovascular disease and stoke by 20 percent,” Long said. “One of the ways we are going to achieve this goal is by reaching out and raising awareness about heart disease in communities where we have not had as much of a presence in the past. Kent was the perfect location to further our mission.”

The course for the event was all across campus, stretching all from the Rec Center to the Gym Annex and places in between. Participants used smartphones to scan a QR code to receive point and had from 9 to 11 a.m. to scan as many points as possible.

Katherine Goldring, student activities coordinator for the Center for Student Involvement, said there were eight checkpoints across campus. Each checkpoint was worth 400 points. Students were encouraged to take part in an activity unique to each checkpoint.

“Some of the events are mental challenges and puzzles, some are physical challenges,” Goldring said.

Another way to receive points was looking for Hidden Donation Tags. These tags were all throughout campus, hanging from poles, trees and other objects. There were 90 bonus tags, and each tag was worth 40 points each.

Participants were encouraged to dress up in St. Patrick’s Day gear for the event.

The fee for participation was $25 per person. Over $5,000 in proceeds from the event benefitted the American Heart Association.

Kelley Fesemyer, sophomore exercise science major, participated in the event, along with her teammates Nicole Cichanowicz and Celine Pollander.

“We did the event because we were offered 25 bonus points from our lifetime fitness teacher if we participated,” Fesemyer said, “and we just thought it would be a fun thing to do.”

The three students set a goal of raising $150, managing to exceed this goal by $15 by the day of the event.

Food and warm beverages were available after, as well as balloon art and caricatures. A raffle included prizes such as autographed merchandise from the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers, a Samsung tablet, a flat screen television and various other items.

A cash prize was awarded to the first place team. Other prizes went to Best Individual Costume, Best Team Costume, Highest Individual Fundraiser, Highest Team Fundraiser and others.

The event had a high turnout, despite the cold and rainy weather.

“It is a great way to support a fantastic organization like the American Heart Association along with learning about health and wellness and participating in a fun competition,” Long said.

Contact Amanda Knauer at [email protected].