Walk Wabash a rousing success, spurring talk of future health, wellness events
By Shawn Gakhal
The second annual Walk Wabash event was held last Friday in the Wabash Building in an effort to promote general health awareness in the Roosevelt University community.
Students, faculty, experienced runners and walkers piled into the packed lobby, itching to scale 31 floors in the Wabash Building.
The event, organized and sponsored by the Office of Wellbeing, took place between 5 and 7 p.m.
What exactly is Walk Wabash?
The biannual-stair climb comprised of three course levels for the participants in the event.
The beginner level contains floors 1-5, the immediate ranges from 1-15 and the third, the hardest of them all, was advanced, encompassing all 31 floors of the Wabash Building.
As the event began, there were students, staff and faculty on hand, stationed at tables throughout the lobby.
Whether it was signing people up, dispersing information about the event or the simple gesture of handing a cup of water to a prospective runner, the coordinated event went without any hitches.
Maxine Garcia and Clara Gong, human resource generalists for the Office of Wellbeing, helped organize and sponsor the event.
Garcia talked about how Walk Wabash came to fruition.
“Walk Wabash started the inaugural event in April of this year,” Garcia said. “The Wellbeing Council was established in June 2011, and part of the goal of the council was to promote health and wellness on campus. … As an extension of that, we were looking at programming. ‘What can we do on campus that can facilitate getting our employee base engaged and help them make healthy life choices?’”
Gong chatted about the improved involvement of the student body in this year’s event.
“We had talked about doing a 5K,” Gong said. “We just need more support from the council to help plan something like that. … In the future, look for that. But, the one thing about this event and the health fairs that we host in the spring are that they are open to everybody in the university. At last year’s Walk Wabash, I ran into a few students at the elevator, and they didn’t realize it was open to them, too. So, I think that’s why we’ve got so much involvement this year.”
A few raced frantically up the stairwells, while other paced and prodded along, careful to conserve energy.
There was a staff member positioned at each level, urging the participants on and also providing water at designated rest stations.
Garcia spoke about the main goal of the event.
“It’s about motivating healthy living, and what better way to do that than to invite members of our employees’ families and our students, as well to participate in something that they can enjoy, be proud of and build from there.”
At the 31st floor, two particularly tired participants rested for a moment, while they quenched their thirst with cups of water.
Roosevelt junior Katie Klotz and her boyfriend, Jordan Falduto, talked about their decision to be a part of the event.
“I decided to do it because I’ve been trying to get more active,” Klotz said. “And I saw it one day in my e-mail, and I said to him [Falduto], ‘Why don’t we do it?’ and he magically agreed.”
Falduto echoed her sentiments.
“She had asked me to do it,” Falduto said. “I try to get to the gym a lot, and I’m definitely up for it. I’m glad they had something like this. … This was up my alley. It was pretty fun.”
Pacing 31 flights of stairs had a rather positive effect, Klotz stated.
“For sure, I feel energized … in a weird way,” a smiling Klotz said.
As the event ended and runners and walkers, alike, scurried out of the lobby doors of the Wabash Building into the cold streets of Chicago, the success of the second Walk Wabash made its future seem that more secure.
Garcia talked about the future health related events and opportunities that came up due to the initial success of Walk Wabash.
“There have been really loose conversations around opportunities to potentially fundraise in support of various health-related events like cancer awareness, things of that sort,” Garcia said. “We’re taking the baby steps right now. One thing that we’d like to do, moving forward, is really get some more input from the student body and members of the community … and really solicit those ideas and let people shine through their ideas and really be able to champion something different that we haven’t done.”