An organization that aims to make college women feel more comfortable in fitness has reached colleges across the U.S. and is now coming to Cal Poly.
The club, Changing Health, Attitudes, + Actions To Recreate Girls (CHAARG), is led by political science junior Casey Lundberg who is the Cal Poly CHAARG ambassador and president. Lundberg said she chose to start this club after seeing a post on Facebook from girls in CHAARG on a national level.
“I have played sports my whole life and I have always loved working out,” Lundberg said. “I want girls to feel more comfortable working out and to find something they genuinely enjoy doing that does not feel like a chore.”
CHAARG has been dubbed as a “fitness sorority” because the club has memberships and dues, which are about $20-30 each quarter. The club provides its members with events such as formals, socials and retreats. However due to COVID-19 restrictions, all of the events are required to be online.
As opposed to a sorority, CHAARG is open to anyone who wants to join it and is oriented around a specific activity, Lundberg said.
Members of the club are planning on holding weekly workouts, each week a different type of workout. Some weeks they will have a registered instructor from a workout studio in San Luis Obispo teaching everyone over Zoom. Small groups of girls in breakout rooms will be put together where they will be doing anything from a study date to a quick workout.
Lundberg said she hopes that future members will think of CHAARG as something that they really enjoy doing each week.
“I hope that it will create a lifetime kind of mindset where they know what they like to do in terms of being healthy and working out,” Lundberg said. “[I hope that] it is not just a thing for their outer appearance and that it is something that is good for their mindfulness.”
Biology junior Brooke Killeen and event coordinator for the club said that CHAARG wants to emphasize inclusivity.
“I want to make sure that CHAARG is an experience for female identifying people to really come and enjoy working out, feel empowered and have this sense of community,” Killeen said. “I just want to make sure as a founding board member that people really feel included.”
Killeen is looking forward to meeting future members, but said a challenge the club is facing is recruiting them.
“We can’t go around campus and hand out flyers like a lot of clubs would usually do when they start out,” Killeen said. “I think it is going to be challenging, but I am ready to tackle that.”
Being under quarantine has also allowed people like Killeen to discover a wide variety of workout options online, such as tutorials on YouTube.
“Fitness is a really huge community for people and it will find a way to prevail even in this online format,” Killeen said. “I think having this online option for a lot of the time builds some confidence at home until you feel confident enough to go out into the world and show off your gains in-person.”
Kinesiology freshman Annika Morse and treasurer of CHAARG at Cal Poly said that CHAARG is a really good way to develop healthy habits related to body image and exercise.
“There are a lot of women who are college aged who struggle with issues related to body image, exercise and diet,” Morse said. “I think [CHAARG] is a really good way to develop some healthy habits related to those different concepts.”
Since CHAARG is a national organization, Morse said that they have a lot of great mentors from other universities and CHAARG’s administrative systems.
“That has been really helpful for getting our club up and running because they have a lot of really good ideas for how to increase membership and how to be effective in planning,” Morse said. “That overall administrative help from the national CHAARG level has been really awesome.”
Morse said that her personal goal for CHAARG in Winter quarter is to form intentional relationships and build a community that is focused around building each other up and improving one another’s confidence.
Wine and viticulture junior Samantha Stewart and the vice president of CHAARG at Cal Poly said that her favorite aspect of the club is mental health.
“In the last year I realized how important mental health is,” Stewart said. “I really like that my position is going to allow me to work closely with people who probably do not know that mental and physical health go together.”
Stewart said her go-to motto for anyone who might be afraid of joining CHAARG is to always try something once.
“If you don’t like it then at least you can say you tried it,” Stewart said. “Potential new members can always tell the executive board what they want because it is also supposed to cater to the wants of the [members].”
For future members of the club, Stewart wants to help make a difference.
“As long as we touch at least one girl’s heart and help make a difference, then it is going to be worth it in the end,” Stewart said.