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Walking program may draw 1,000 employees

By : Rachel Coker

Junior Joshua Simmons of Binghamton runs on a treadmill at FitSpace in the East Gym. The new America on the Move program is designed to get more employees walking.
Faculty and staff members will have an incentive to walk more and eat less when the America on the Move program comes to campus later this month.

The Employee Assistance Program and Campus Recreational Services expect about 1,000 University employees to sign up for the program, which asks participants to walk an extra 2,000 steps and eat 100 fewer calories every day. Two thousand steps is equivalent to about a mile.

“My hope is that this forms a new level of wellness community,” said Diane Campbell, EAP director. Even a relatively small change in behavior can have big physical and mental benefits, she noted.

The focus is on maintaining weight and increasing activity. Campbell said it may also help relieve stress and help employees appreciate the campus’ beauty in a different way.

EAP received nearly $10,000 to support the program through New York State EAP; funds come from labor unions and the governor’s office. At Binghamton, the money will buy a pedometer for every participant as well as prizes to be awarded at the midpoint and end of the six-week program. A series of noon wellness programs is also planned.

Participants will be able to register online at, which will also offer recipes and health tips. Walkers will report their steps at the Web page at least weekly throughout the program. A designated phone line at 777-6650 will provide registration for those without Internet access as well as updates for participants.

America on the Move will begin Wednesday, Sept. 20, and online registration starts Monday, Sept. 11. There will be registration assistance and pedometer distribution from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sept. 20 and 21 near the Library Tower coffee kiosk. On Friday, Sept. 22, help will be available during the same hours at Old Union Hall.

Campbell said she hopes departments will consider holding “walking meetings” and that some employees may decide to have a shorter lunch and take a walk before returning to their desks. The program may even spark some friendly competition among colleagues.

Campbell will serve as a coordinator of the program along with EAP Coordinator Katy Bailey.

Cindy Cowden, associate director of Campus Recreational Services, said a new brochure will feature a campus walking map with mileage noted for various routes. There’s a 1.3-mile route around “the Brain” as well as a 2.3-mile route in the Nature Preserve, for example.

“Walking is a universal activity,” Cowden said. All you need is a good pair of shoes.

People who prefer some other kind of exercise can still participate in America on the Move. The registration materials will provide step equivalents for other activities. Moderate work in the garden, for instance, is equivalent to 118 steps per minute for women or 109 for men. There are figures for mowing the lawn and scrubbing floors, too.

When America on the Move wraps up, employees who wish to stay in a structured walking program may join Campus Recreation’s Wellness Walkers program, which provides support and encouragement to people who walk.

The group, which has been active for at least 10 years, has about 60 current members. The highest mileage total is about 3,800.

Wellness programs planned The following wellness programs will run from noon-1 p.m. in the UU-East Lounge, except for the Guided Nature Preserve Hike.
Tuesday, Oct. 3: “The Feldenkries Method: Body Awareness through Movement” with Sally Motyka Thompson.
Monday, Oct. 9: “Warming Up for Exercise” with Patti Dowd, group exercise coordinator for Campus Recreational Services (CRS).
Thursday, Oct. 19: “Guided Nature Preserve Walk” with CRS Outdoor Pursuits. Meet in front of Mohawk Hall with appropriate dress and shoes for hiking. This program is weather dependent.
Monday, Oct. 23: “Tips for Cutting 100 Calories/Day” with Alexa Schmidt, Sodexho registered dietician.
Monday, Oct. 30: “Life After AOM: Welcome to Wellness Walkers” with Cindy Cowden, associate director of CRS.
You don’t have to be an America on the Move participant to attend; all employees are welcome.

How to sign up
To sign up online, go to and click on Individual. Choose “get involved today” and, under individual registration, select “full access.” The University’s group code is RNY64701; fill out the rest of the form with your work address and other data. Choose Sept. 20 as the start date and “Join the September Campaign.”
You’ll receive a confirmation e-mail that you should bring to one of the registration tables Sept. 20-22 for your free pedometer.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08