NEIU Hosts First “Walking Wednesday” To Promote Physical Activity on Campus

More stories from Ananth Prabhu


Exercise is often one action that comes to mind for many people. And it may take as little as 35 minutes to be dedicated to the activity at a leisure-pace to cover the requirements.

NEIU is hosting “Walking Wednesdays” at all three campuses: the main campus, El Centro, and CCICS. The main campus will have urban exploration walks around the North Park neighborhood, and participants will meet in the lobby of Lech Walesa Hall.

According to the new Interim Director for Student Health Services, Jennie Lasko, the premise of this weekly event is to celebrate walking as a good activity and make members of the NEIU campus more comfortable regardless of previous physical activity experience.

The event takes place every Wednesday during the usual lunch break at noon. The walk is meant to be of leisure pace and last approximately 35 minutes round-trip.

According to Lasko, the reason for choosing 35 minutes as the length of the walk was that it seemed like an accountable amount of time to increase heart rate, get a decent amount of movement and steps, and feel more comfortable on and around the NEIU campus community.

All members of the NEIU community, which includes students, faculty, and staff are invited and encouraged to join. Free lunch and beverages are provided for all walkers. Walkers also get free NEIU-themed merchandise, such as t-shirts, hats, and water bottles.

Dr. Shireen Roshanravan, Executive Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, said that a survey of ideas from several Zoom sessions between faculty, staff, and students over previous months brought about the “Walking Wednesdays” initiative.

The plan is to keep this event running through October 19th, 2022. After that date more plans and surveys will be taken into consideration to continue the weekly event, according to Lasko. Considerations of winter weather will also be addressed after the first seven weeks of the event are completed.

As for the first week’s efficacy, it was a triumphant “fun little jaunt” as September seventh’s walking leader and student volunteer, Curran Fitzgerald, put it. Lasko anticipated that 20 NEIU community members would show up but final records indicated that 30 people participated in the event.

Fitzgerald hopes and expects this weekly excursion to inspire “more communication between professors and students” outside of the classroom. Fitzgerald agreed to volunteer with the expectation that walking would be a great way “to get physical activity because we tend to use our cars too much.”

According to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), 1.2 to 1.4 million people in Chicago depend heavily on car-travel during morning and evening rush hours for the purposes of work, school traffic, and travel. Fitzgerald’s reasoning definitely aligns with CMAP’s data about Chicago being a part of a heavily car-dependent society. After walking and talking with Fitzgerald during this event, he said he felt de-stressed, as that was the purpose of the walk and that he would definitely like to volunteer as the leader of the group again.

One fellow walker, Janise Wriddle, Adjunct Professor of the Teacher Education Department, gave a literal thumbs up to the event, and said it was “a good suggestion,” and “a great way to meet people.”

External Sources:

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (2008). Travel Trends.