The Mason community gathered to raise awareness of living a healthy lifestyle by participating in a walk around the university’s campus.
The 6th annual Happy Heart Walk event was held simultaneously on the Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William campuses on Wednesday, Sep. 24. Participants were welcomed in the Wellness Circle in front of Merten Hall. The event, sponsored by Wellness at Mason, promotes healthy choices in general wellness and exercise for the Mason community. It started in 2008 to bring together different departments on campus to encourage good health choices.
The campuses competed for the Happy Heart Team Award, a stuffed heart named Valerian, meaning strong and healthy in Latin. The award is given to the group with the largest attendance in their walk around campus.
Last year the stuffed heart was awarded to the young students of Mason’s Child and Development Center. In the past, the Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William campuses have each won twice.
Junior Morghan Martin and her volleyball teammates were a part of the various student organizations to volunteer for the walk.
“We are asked every year to assist and direct people around campus,” Martin said. “We bring the energy up and help get people excited.”
Along with the volleyball team were cheerleaders, cadets and basketball players. The Patriot was also in attendance for this anticipated walk.
Mason cheerleaders Erin Cianflone and Sommer Walton represented their cheer squad by helping the Patriot participate in the walk and passed out heart shaped antennas for participants to wear while walking.
“We make the process go quickly and smoothly,” Walton said. “We want to help the Patriot support everyone participating.”
Patrice Winter, assistant faculty member of College of Health and Human Services, was present to run the event on the Fairfax campus.
“Every year we do this to bring awareness of doing exercise. It is open to all faculty, staff, and students. This year over 200 signed up,” Winter said. “It is very cool because each campus is simultaneously doing the same activity at the same time.”
Walk leaders for the Fairfax campus were President Cabrera’s wife Beth Cabrera and Brad Edwards, Mason’s new athletic director. Cabrera and Edwards were referred to as the Queen and King of Hearts as they lead participants throughout campus.
“We need to get up and moving in the outdoors,” Cabrera said. “Doing this with friends and colleagues makes it even better!”
Lori Scher, assistant dean for University Life on the Arlington Campus, and Richard Kelseu, assistant dean in the School of Law, led the way on the Arlington Campus that began outside of Founders Hall.
On the Prince William Campus, Ron Carmichael, the campus’ chief operating officer, and Carrie McVicker, operations and events coordinator, led the walk from the Bull Run Hall lobby.
“Let’s have a great and healthy mason nation!” Edwards said as he kicked off the walk at the Fairfax campus.
The Kaiser Permanente mobile health vehicle, a medical center on wheels with two exam suites, sat in the Merten Hall parking lot at the event from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Faculty, students and staff were invited to stop by for a “Know Your Numbers” health check at this mobile health vehicle. There was also a room to talk with a doctor or caregiver and educational videos shown inside.
People were able to receive routine preventative care inside the vehicle and were able to check their blood pressure, body mass index, screen for cholesterol, glucose and more. Students and faculty were also given the opportunity to discuss how to manage ongoing health conditions, ask for medical advice and arrange follow-up appointments.
“This is the first offensive to good health,” Winter said. “It is so important to know your numbers. Some people are twenty-five and they aren’t even aware of their high numbers.”
Photos by Savannah Norton and Johannah Tubalado