Creating Culture of Wellness on MSU’s Campus

May 16, 2019 - Kristin Traskie, MPH, ACSM-CPT, NBC-HWC, CHWP

This story also appeared on MSU Today.


Michigan State University is one of 139 universities and colleges around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on campus. MSU earned a gold-level designation from the program. 

The MSU Exercise is Medicine On Campus, or EIM-OC, Initiative was started in 2014 and is led by the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion Department within Student Health and Wellness. 

“EIM-OC has been embraced fully by the MSU administrative leadership, Recreational Sports and Fitness Services, the Department of Kinesiology and Student Health and Wellness,” said Jim Pivarnik, director of the MSU Center for Physical Activity and Health and professor in the Department of Kinesiology. “Collaborative efforts like ours can make EIM-OC a vibrant, thriving entity on a college campus.”

The MSU EIM-OC program, which Pivarnik helps lead, is active on campus with a newly registered student organization, as well as events and programs such as the Annual Healthy Homecoming Walk and the ACTIVE Spartans Program. 

The Annual Healthy Homecoming Walk is a nationwide walking competition against other registered universities nationwide. This past fall, the walk had over 500 participants, who walked a total of 984 miles throughout the day. 

The ACTIVE Spartans Program, matches students, faculty and staff with physical activity mentors through an exercise prescription referral system. The goal of the program is to improve the well-being of participants by increasing physical activity through knowledge, tools and support. 

The program was the recipient of this year’s Midwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine ActiveU Award and was also featured in the summer 2018 issue of American College Health and Wellness in Action

The EIM-OC registered student organization was formed in fall 2018. The goal of the organization is to improve the well-being of the campus community by promoting the importance of physical activity as a part of everyday life. The group offers outreach, education, leadership and social opportunities for students. 

Of the 139 campuses recognized this year, 55 received gold, 56 silver and 28 bronze. Gold-level campuses have created a referral system where campus health care providers assess student physical activity and refer students as necessary to a certified fitness professional as part of medical treatment.

All gold, silver and bronze universities and colleges will be officially recognized on May 29 as part of the 2019 Exercise is Medicine World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting.

EIM-OC calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health and encourages faculty, staff and students to work together to improve the health and well-being of the campus community.  

“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and give students the tools to cultivate physical activity habits that will benefit them throughout their lives,” said Robyn Stuhr, vice president of Exercise is Medicine. “These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.” 

For more information on the MSU EIM-OC, contact Kristin Traskie