By Elly Spencer
Two years and 65 pounds later, Armine Qourzal, Baylor’s assistant director of counseling, is a happier, healthier man.
“I feel better now than I ever have,” Qourzal said.
Baylor University Health Services and the McLane Student Life Center are working together to promote these kinds of changes in lifestyle throughout the campus with the new Live Active competition.
The contest, which will begin Monday and run through Nov. 14, is part of an initiative prompted by Oklahoma State University, challenging faculty and staff from both campuses to lead healthier lifestyles.
This is the program’s first year, but the coordinators on behalf of OSU and Baylor hope to see it grow within the coming semesters.
“We’re hoping to expand the program to every school in the Big 12,” said Van Davis, Baylor’s assistant director for fitness and nutrition education. “We also want to include students by the spring semester, in time for New Year’s resolutions.”
The idea of the contest is for faculty and staff to log in as much activity over the next few weeks as possible. This can include mowing the lawn, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and even standing at work instead of sitting.
Davis said activity will be registered in terms of miles and that the website will do the mile conversion for participants when they log in and record their activity.
Prizes and incentives for the contest include weekly drawings for a “Fit Pack” with free athletic equipment and the rights to GroupX and OsoFit classes, as well as T-shirts for individuals who stay active and log their activity for the entire eight weeks.
On Oct. 13, the 100 most active individuals will be entered in a drawing for a special surprise, according the Live Active website.
These incentives were put in place in order to keep the competitors motivated and active over the seven-week program, Davis said.
The winner of the overall competition will be announced at the OSU versus Baylor football game in McLane Stadium on Nov. 22. The winning team will receive the rights to a traveling trophy.
“We’re trying to impact campus health through nutrition,” said Richard Amos, director of compensation and benefits for human resources. “And faculty and staff have responded so far.”
One of those respondents includes Ben Roberts, the coordinator for aquatics and safety education on Baylor’s campus. He signed up through the American Heart Association’s website at www.baylor.edu/campusrec/fitness/liveactive. Signing up is free and participants will use the website every time they need to clock in activity.
“It’s something to help me stay active and it gives me the incentive to go out and do things,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t hurt that we’re competing against a rival in the Big 12.”
Art Briles, Baylor’s head football coach, said in an online video he’s confident the university will not back down from the challenge and encouraged Baylor to band together to take care of their bodies and minds.
Davis said several people, such as Roberts, signed up as a result of Baylor’s competitive nature.
“The challenge is supposed to be friendly competition, knowing Baylor and how we strive hard to be the best that we can be, I know we’ll do our very best to take down the Cowboys.”