Volume 94, Issue 46
Tuesday, November 21, 2000
Residents prepare to ATTAC life at Western
Dave Sit, ATTAC program co-ordinator and founder, Jen Irwin, health science faculty member, Bob Gough, assistant director of residences, Joyce Castanze, public health nurse and Elizabeth Elliot, aerobic co-ordinator, get re-acquainted.
By Jessica Leeder
This week residents at Alumni House, Medway/Sydenham and Elgin residences are getting ready to ATTAC life.
Monday signified the kickoff of the Active Teams Towards Active Communities (ATTAC) Health Promotion Program in the University Drive residences, according to founder and co-ordinator Dave Sit.
Sit said the program's mandate is to promote healthy lifestyles through a self-committing exercise program, enabling participants at any fitness level to take part.
Heading up the active part of the program are "Health Promotion Facilitators," or volunteers, who have signed contracts with ATTAC committing to one-two hours of a fitness-related activity on the same day each week. They are required to recruit at least one other residences to join them in their weekly activity and are also required to join the activity of another facilitator once each week themselves.
"We're trying to target anyone at any fitness level and accommodate them," said Sit. "We're giving people an opportunity to commit and a support group to motivate them when they need it."
This is the first year the program has been implemented according to Sit, who said he hopes ATTAC will be offered to students in residents for years to come, as it is the only one of its kind.
The ATTAC program concept is one designed by Sit, a fourth-year health sciences student, who said he wanted to combine his experience working on resident's council at Alumni House and his experiences in the health sciences faculty.
"I've always wanted to get experience to see if I was interested in doing health promotions work, but my motivation for doing this program was to be able to offer something that had intrinsic as well as extrinsic benefits."
As well as getting "buffer" while filling in their roles as fitness fanatics, facilitators will be given an Award of Recognition documenting their volunteer hours by UWO Housing and the Middlesex London Health Unit to add to their portfolios.
Bob Gough, assistant director of residences at Western, said he thinks the program will be a success because of its novelty.
"The key thing about the program is that it inspires one to get involved in things they have never before. The program is run and implemented by volunteers, meaning you don't have to be an expert to do it. This represents a tremendous opportunity on campus for students to get involved in volunteer activities."
Mitchel Fong, a second-year engineering student and health promotion facilitator at Alumni House, said the many elements of the program were what got him excited. "We have the opportunity to do something different with this program. We get healthier, we get people to exercise and we get to meet more people."
Elizabeth Elliot, an aerobics co-ordinator, is the program's affiliate with Campus Recreation and is one of many Campus Rec. professionals that will be available for members of the program to approach for instruction. Elliot was responsible for conducting training sessions for the fitness facilitators, providing them with instruction on how to have a safe and injury-free workout.
"I find that the individuals I deal with are really trying to get good information about what is going to be beneficial to them, but there is a lot of information out there," she said. "Individuals who are not sure about components of their workouts need to deal with someone who has the appropriate qualifications to help them make the right decisions."
The ATTAC Life Program will be implemented in the remaining residences Essex Hall, Saugeen-Maitland Hall, Delaware Hall and Westminster College beginning in January, pending the program's success.
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