Ouachita Baptist University has received, for the second time, the credential of Silver Status from the Exercise is Medicine® program, an initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world.
Ouachita was awarded Silver Status for its Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies’ work with the Exercise is Medicine program; it first earned Silver Status recognition in 2016. ACSM launched its recognition program in 2014 to honor campuses for their participation and engagement in living a healthy lifestyle; universities can earn gold, silver or bronze status based on their involvement and commitment to health.
Ouachita received the honor at the ACSM Summit in Minneapolis this summer alongside larger universities such as Georgetown and Arizona State University. Dr. Amber Chelette, assistant professor of kinesiology and leisure studies, accepted the award for Ouachita.
“It is a very humbling credential and award to have,” said Dr. Terry DeWitt, chair of Ouachita’s Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies. “It shows what we do in our department in regards to physical well-being for college students and other people.
“For a small school like Ouachita to be on the same level as some of the larger schools is phenomenal, so I am excited for our whole program,” DeWitt added.
In order to earn the credential, universities in the organization must host a noncompetitive event that promotes exercise and shows people how to improve their everyday life by doing things such as: improving their flexibility, eating a healthy diet and learning how to exercise.
Ouachita’s kinesiology department hosts events in both the fall and spring semesters. In the fall, typically during a home basketball or volleyball game, they place stations around the building targeting college students and their health needs. This spring, Ouachita partnered with local elementary schools to work specifically with second and third graders. OBU students taught healthy lifestyle skills in a way that was fun for the kids.
“We’re not only on our campus but also on elementary campuses, and I think that’s a really neat thing,” DeWitt said.
This past year, Ouachita advanced the program by partnering with Baptist Health to provided water bottles, pedometers to measure steps and other health promotion literature for OBU students and faculty to pass out at their events.
The kinesiology department has many plans to continue to achieve goals and grow its academic program. In the last ten years, it has seen a 40 percent increase in the number of declared majors. In addition to its major in kinesiology and leisure studies, the department offers emphases in teaching K-12, recreation & sports administration, recreation & sports ministry and pre-professional studies. It also offers minors in exercise science, recreation & sports administration, recreation & sports ministry and coaching, as well as a teaching endorsement in coaching.