By gathering more than 100 UW-Madison women together, a new student organization is striving to make fitness a fun component that fits into female students’ lives.
Changing Health, Attitudes, Actions to Recreate Girls at UW-Madison is a chapter of a national organization that coaches members to be confident and lead healthy lifestyles through weekly meetings and group support.
CHAARG has reached 52 universities nationwide, according to Vice President of media of the UW-Madison chapter Caroline Greavu. She said the UW-Madison group has 180 members after one semester on campus. The women are split into small groups of 15 to 20 members, who participate in weekly health and fitness activities together throughout the semester.
“It is so amazing because in these groups there are so many different majors, backgrounds, and fitness level girls who all are united by one thing and goal to live a healthier and happier lifestyle,” Greavu said in an email.
Members are encouraged to try new forms of exercise, which goes along with their slogan: “freeing girls from the elliptical since 2012.” They are held accountable by other individuals in the group to make time for their physical health.
CHAARG Ambassador Zoe Smith, who founded the UW-Madison chapter, said the group is open to women of all fitness levels. She said the focus of the group is to empower women.
“The whole point of CHAARG is to create a positive community for girls interested in finding their fitness passion and leading healthy lifestyles,” Smith said in an email. “I think we have done a really good job creating that atmosphere for Wisco girls. It’s so easy on a fitness-friendly campus with so many amazing girls.”
Participants can attend weekly “studio spotlight” sessions, where workouts are lead by instructors from businesses such as Kamps, Cyc and Barre Code, among others. Small groups also participate in outings such as cooking classes at Fresh or spa days. Another workout session is offered each week that is lead by a member of CHAARG’s executive staff. Members are also invited to attend monthly and semesterly events, including socials, as well as partake in national gatherings.
Smith said the goal of this group is to bring women together. She and the executive staff plan to continue expanding the group and spread the idea of body positivity around campus.
“CHAARG isn't just an organization—it’s a women's fitness/confidence movement,” Smith said. “I know our members will each become ambassadors for this lifestyle. CHAARG girls push themselves out of their comfort zones, they take what they deserve and they see everyday as a new opportunity to reach their goals. Like they say—‘empowered women empower women’—and our focus is and will remain to empower women.”