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By Eric Weld   Date: 12/10/08

Setting a Good Example

With another new year approaching, a range of resolutions will soon be declared. Quit smoking. Tame debt. Take a class. What’s yours? Those in the Office of Admission already have a plan.

Resolutions, Once Deferred, Finally Achieved

It’s among the most common New Year’s resolutions: This year, I’m going to get fit.

That objective echoed in the halls of the Office of Admission earlier this year when staff members were asked to post their resolutions on a bulletin board for all to see. The eventual result was an office-wide fitness challenge in which 20 admission staff members committed to sticking to an exercise regimen of walking or running.

They called it “Fit to Admit,” explained Karen Kristof, senior associate director of admission, and a challenge participant. It took a while to initiate the challenge after their resolutions were posted, but at the beginning of last August, admission staffers pledged to walk or jog at least 10 miles for four consecutive weeks. Participants were eligible for prize drawings each week and a grand prize drawing at the conclusion of the challenge.

The admission office fitness challenge was the idea of Maureen Pine, assistant director of admission, who joined the Smith staff after coaching basketball for 18 years at Trinity College.

“She quickly became an informal fitness mentor to the office,” recalled Kristof, “part personal trainer, part cheerleader and part expert on all things athletic.”

Pine learned that while some admission staff members had been maintaining regular exercise routines, others were just beginning, said Kristof. That’s when Pine launched the idea of a group challenge.

That first challenge was so successful that the office quickly decided to go for more. “Halfway through the challenge, it became apparent that we could aim higher than 800 miles,” said Kristof. So in October, Pine issued an updated challenge to her cohorts: log a total of 1,000 miles in four weeks, an average of more than 13 miles per participant each week.

“We didn’t quite make it that time,” said Kristof, “but we came in with a respectable 979 miles.”

The main goal of the challenges was not necessarily the number of miles literally walked or run, explained Pine. Rather it was about encouraging fun, health and the pursuit of a team objective.

Meanwhile, admission staffers inevitably got to know each other better and strengthened their ability to collaborate as a result of their common participation.

So what will the admission office’s 2009 resolution be?

“More applications and more miles!” declared Deb Shaver, director of admission.

Anyone else?

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