While 63.1 percent of adults in the United States are either overweight or obese according to the 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, USC students are turning to physical education classes to be healthier.About 2,100 students are enrolled in physical education courses this semester, which is a 250-student increase from fall 2010 and a 200-student increase from spring 2010, according to Steve VanKanegan, director of the physical education program.Get fit · USC students participate in the Fitness for Walking class that meets every Monday and Wednesday. Steve VanKanegan, director of the physical education program, said he thinks students care about their health. – Emily Tat | Daily Trojan “Students are choosing to explore physical education not just to round out their schedules, but because they recognize the importance of being active,” VanKanegan said.He said he thinks the primary reason for the increase in the number of students enrolled in physical education classes is the quality of the instructors.“Our instructors have a complete background in the subjects they teach,” VanKanegan said. “We’re not putting [instructors] in classes unless they have played, coached or had extensive experience [in that field].”He said student desires to be healthier have been another driving force behind the department’s growth.“Students are becoming more aware of the importance of health and well-being,” VanKanegan said.Mackenzie Ross, a sophomore majoring in international relations, said she enjoys taking physical education classes at USC because they motivate her to be healthy.“Exercise is really important for being healthy and staying in shape,” Ross said. “Gym classes here are a fun and educational way to get into exercising and stay motivated.”Some students find it difficult to set aside time to work out in between class and homework, so the physical education classes make students prioritize time to exercise.“It’s really important to be healthy while you’re at school,” said Stephanie Guo, a sophomore majoring in communication. “I don’t think I’d have time to work out with the classes I’m taking, so putting it into my schedule really helps.”Josue Enriquez, a senior majoring in civil engineering, said physical education courses are a great outlet for students to relieve stress.“Taking [physical education] classes helps you de-stress from academic classes. I’ve taken many P.E. classes, [and] all the classes have been amazing,” Enriquez said.The department has recently added new classes, including surfing and table tennis, to appeal to a wide variety of students. The surfing class, which was added in the fall, was filled on the first day of registration, according to VanKanegan.The department is working to continue this growth by looking at the possibility of creating a minor in physical education, VanKanegan said. He said this minor would be attractive to students who are wishing to pursue a profession in physical therapy. So far, no steps have been taken to look further into the addition of the minor.“We believe we’re going to continue to grow for years to come because we have a talented core group of instructors, and students are realizing the importance of good health,” VanKanegan said.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 24, 2017 at 11:56 pm Contact Kathryn: email@example.com Top hits blast from the speakers in Flanagan Gymnasium as members of the ballroom dancing team swing dance to the beat. The music never ceases, as dancers only pause when a new song starts or to take a break for a drink of water.“Before I started ballroom, I saw myself as the guy with two left feet,” said Michael Senatore, president of the ballroom dancing club at Syracuse University. “At weddings and other social events, I wouldn’t even think of stepping out on the dance floor.”The ballroom dancing team typically meets on Friday and Saturday nights in Skybarn on South Campus. They plan various social dances on and off campus throughout the year, including a Halloween dance on Oct. 31 from 7 to 10 p.m. in Skybarn. After 25 years, the focuses of the club and its members — inclusion, competition and a chance to relieve some stress — remain unchanged.“We still want to grow and continue to compete in local competitions as well as participating in social dances throughout the community,” Senatore said. “We try to keep it like it’s always been.”While ballroom dancing may seem intimidating, Senatore said, the team encourages everyone to try dancing and prides themselves on being open to anyone. While most ballroom teams refer to partners as “male and female,” Syracuse’s team refers to the partners as a “leader and follower.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCulture and personal background also play factors in ballroom dancing and certain aspects of it attracts people differently, whether it be a romantic or cultural appeal.“Different dances have different personas,” said Andrew Austin-Banas, one of the coaches of the team. “Waltz and Foxtrot are more friendship based and sweet, the rumba and cha-cha are a bit more sexy with more hip motion.”In the world of ballroom dancing, there can often be questions regarding romantic affiliation, and it’s not uncommon for dance partners to start dating, Senatore said.“I think it naturally happens,” Senatore said.Bethany Bourgault, an SU graduate student, and Austin-Banas, an assistant scientist at Bristol-Myers Squibb, are the clubs’ primary dance teachers. Bourgault had been dancing 17 years prior to joining the team in 2015, and Austin-Banas, 25, started dancing when he was 15. He picked up the endeavor after his older sister would come home and practice with him.“She wanted someone to practice with,” Austin-Banas said, “so I started learning in reverse from there.”The two teachers, and occasional outside instructors, prepare all dancers for semi-regular competitions, though not every dancer competes. Some past competitions have been held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ithaca College and Cornell University.But most members didn’t get into dancing to compete; they were seeking the opposite of a competitive environment.Anyone who is interested in ballroom dancing should try it, Senatore said, and though it can be intimidating, people shouldn’t get discouraged.“You don’t become a concert pianist overnight,” Senatore said. “If nothing else, it’s a great skill to have and it’s just fun.” Comments