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College leads a successful, expanded SUNY Wellness Challenge

DATE: 05-30-2013

Four years ago, a few members of Cayuga Community College Administrative Professional Group organized the Fitness Challenge, a 10-week competition that brought together four-person teams in a friendly campus contest to see which team earns the most points by tracking steps and exercise routines. This year, the College’s rebranded SUNY Wellness Challenge expanded to include participants at SUNY Cortland and Onondaga Community College. The multi-campus Wellness Challenge had a total of 118 teams comprised of 464 participants.

Cayuga’s Challenge coordinators and program originators, Adam Williams, Michael Pastore, Bruce Walter, and Jackie Caputa, report that six additional SUNY colleges—Binghamton, Broome, Cobleskill, Corning, Oswego, and Adirondack—have expressed interest in joining the 2014 Challenge. Additionally, the Mayor of Cortland contacted the Cayuga coordinators to ask permission to use our model to design a challenge for the City of Cortland’s employees.

"We are excited that our original concept has grown in just four years to include more than 460 participants," said co-organizer Bruce Walter, manager of IT user services at Cayuga. "With the interest expressed by six more SUNY colleges, we hope to have over 1,500 participants next year."

At Cayuga, Challenge participants walked 45,085,521 steps and lost 213 lbs. They also collected 617 food/canned items and 18 hams, and donated $670 for the E. John Gavras Center for Autism.

The following people received special recognition for their participation:

  • Individual with the Most Points (3,212.79 points)—Jeff Shea, assistant professor of math, Fulton Campus
  • Individual with the Most Steps (1,419,915 steps or roughly 672 miles)—Frank Sciortino, custodian, Auburn Campus
  • Individual who lost highest percentage of body weight (7.43%)—Shannon Reohr, professor of math, Auburn Campus
  • Overall Wellness Team Winner (8,627 points)—Survival of the Fittest: Shannon Reohr, professor of math, Auburn Campus; Joel Humphrey, associate professor of biology, Fulton Campus; Kathy Gross, professor of math, Auburn Campus; Sue Gilmore, professor of biology, Auburn Campus
  • Penny Austin Perseverance Award—Shannon Reohr, professor of math, Auburn Campus

The Perseverance Award was established in 2012 in honor of a College employee who is battling cancer and whose positive attitude inspires those who work with her. The award is given to a Fitness Challenge Participant that is an employee of Cayuga Community College that shows hard work, determination, strength, drive, positive attitude, devotion, passion, kindness, and true perseverance to reach their overall goal during the Fitness Challenge.