Staff, Faculty, Students Collaborate in Community Fitness Partners Program

Nov 29, 2023
A shot of the Ely Fitness Center, shot from halfway on the staircase leading up and down. White cardio machines are stacked in a row on the upstairs portion of the room with white benches down below for weight lifting.

Ely Fitness Center.

As part of the exercise science curriculum, students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to take part in the Fall 2023 Community Fitness Partners (CFP) Training Program, which began in September and will end on November 30.

The program is an active application of “Senior Seminar in Exercise Science,” a Civic Learning Engagement Required course which aims to “improve the health and wellness of the members of the campus community while providing upper-level Exercise Science students with invaluable experience,” as advertised by Melissa Roti, Director of the Exercise Science program.

Participants of the program are assigned a Student Personal Trainer and engage in eight weeks of an individually tailored fitness program designed in collaboration with the trainer. Matt Dellea, Director of Student Activities, Involvement, and Leadership (SAIL), a participant of the program, describing it as “real world work”.

“It’s not out of a textbook,” he said. “The students have to think about the person they’re working with. For my program, it’s about wanting to be healthy and strong. I love it. The program has been such a great outlet for me, and it gives me a break in being able to finally do something for myself. It’s been good for my mental health. There’s been improvements. I can touch my toes!”

Participants are assessed at both the beginning and end of the program. Once proper baselines have been established, participants can then operate on their own while being supported and meeting with their Student Personal Trainer twice a week.

“It’s a way for me to give back to our students,” Dellea added. “And we have great students. It’s been great giving them an opportunity to practice the skills they’re going to need to be successful once they leave the nest.”

Natalie Bolster, Dellea’s Student Personal Trainer, said that working with Dellea is “fun”, as the program provides “a very positive environment”. As an exercise science major with a minor in coaching, Bolster plans to attend graduate school to study physical therapy, though they would also like to coach on the side as well.

“It’s a fun class,” Bolster said about Senior Seminar in Exercise Science, the class in which CFP is a component. “It’s one of my favorites of this semester. For the program, I just sort of figure it out as I go. It’s been fun working with Matt. We got to be creative with it.”

Apart from the CFP program itself, Bolster endorses the entire exercise science department, as both their professors and classmates have cultivated a supportive atmosphere. “I’ve had some great friends that I’ve met here, so there’s relationships that have come out of this too,” they said. “Having so many people that are enthusiastic about exercise and then teaching it too… it’s so nice to have different perspectives.”