Mississippi State University's newest health and wellness organization for girls, CHAARG, recently made its debut on campus. CHAARG stands for Changing Health Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls. This is their first year on MSU's campus and their goal is to give young women on campus a health and wellness community.
Rayne Jensen, a fifth-year senior in kinesiology at MSU, is the founding ambassador and president of CHAARG.
"We are a women's health and wellness organization. We partner with different fitness studios around Starkville to help people find their fit as far as working out," Jensen said.
Jensen applied to be a founding ambassador for CHAARG on a whim. Getting the organization on its feet was no easy task. Despite the challenges, she worked hard to bring this group to campus.
"We don't have many health and wellness organizations on MSU's campus," Jensen said. "I knew it would be a huge hit since we don't have a lot of things like that."
CHAARG is a nationwide organization with members at 110 universities across the country. It was founded at Ohio State University in 2012. Membership is $47 a semester, and memberships can be purchased for the year or for the semester depending on the need of the member. Through this membership, the girls can access the community as well as go to the weekly workouts, join a small group and attend social events throughout the year.
Sydni Vandevender, a junior communication major at MSU, is the vice president of media for CHAARG.
"When you join CHAARG you get a community of girls who will support you along the way. No matter where you are on your fitness journey, whether you have been working out for years or you have never worked out, you get to see what you are interested in and what works for you," Vandevender said.
Every Wednesday, the group does their weekly workouts. They do a variety of workouts to allow the girls to try different ways to get fit. CHAARG has done many kinds of workouts already such as yoga and pilates, and they have gone to classes in the Joe Frank Sanderson Center on campus. In the future, they plan to do CrossFit and other fitness routines throughout the year.
CHAARG puts a lot of emphasis on community. They strive to help young women get fit while forming lifelong friendships.
"For me, there's a lot of accountability in it. Oftentimes you don't want to try new things alone," Vandevender said.
Abby Roberts, a junior in interior design at MSU, is one of the members of CHAARG.
"I joined CHAARG because I wanted to get plugged in and make new friends," Roberts said. "I love to work out, so CHAARG seemed like a great opportunity for me to do both."
CHAARG is continuously growing, and those who are interested in becoming new members can sign up throughout the year. So far, the group has had a few social events, including a Sunday brunch. Members can try out different types of workouts, but they are not required to do every activity. Their goal is to help young women find their fit, and they want everyone to feel comfortable while doing so.
"I signed up for this on my own. Normally I would ask a friend to try with me. I signed up by myself, walked into the first workout by myself," Rogers said. "Then, I really connected well with the organization. I know these friendships are friendships that are going to last awhile."
CHAARG offers a community of young women who are passionate about fitness and want to make new friends along the way. They welcome all new members with open arms into their community.
"I get to know girls that I have probably passed a million times on campus and just never met," Vandevender said. "It is really cool to see a bunch of different people at different points in their lives coming together for this one thing that we have in common which is trying to take care of ourselves."
Health and wellness are important, especially for college students as they get bogged down by homework and studying.
"Trying different things and finding something you like is the first step to enjoying working out and getting fit," Jensen said.
Young women who are interested in joining CHAARG can visit the group's Instagram: @msstate_inchaarg or can visit their link tree.