OU PR class promoting “Healthy Starts Here” campaign

Olivia Chiappelli, Arts Reporter

Oakland University’s External Public Relations (PR) class is promoting the campaign “Healthy Starts Here” to inform students of all the fitness and wellness opportunities the Recreation Center (Rec) has to offer, with the main goal of making all students feel welcome.

The “Healthy Starts Here” campaign — originally created in 2020 — aims to communicate that any individual’s version of “health” can start at the Rec Center.

“Unfortunately, people think that the gym isn’t the environment for them. We want to encourage our OU community by informing them the OU RecWell provides for every lifestyle and embodies health and wellness in many ways, they have something for everyone,” says Gabrielle Rodela, one of the OU students behind the “Healthy Starts Here” campaign.

The campaign aims to make the Rec more approachable for OU students who may find the thought of going to the gym intimidating. In order to accomplish this, the campaign utilizes many welcoming tactics.

Some of those tactics include: posters with informational QR codes displayed throughout the resident halls and Oakland Center, an SMS automated messaging service which notifies students of special events or group fitness classes offered at the Rec and athlete testimonials displayed on the Rec’s instagram.

The campaign will also create “beginner videos” which students can view before going to the Rec, as well as host a 360 virtual tour of the Rec on their website showcasing the locations of everything the Rec has to offer.

“Whether it be a tour, demos on how to use equipment or how to sign up to attend group classes or sports activities, we want to provide students with useful information so it is not as daunting to try something new,” Rodela says.

Overall, the PR campaign the students have put together aims to increase awareness of the Rec’s programs and services that go beyond fitness alone. The Rec offers many student well-being programs and fitness opportunities that are often not as well known. 

The campaign will promote student wellness at OU by advertising programs like the Green Bandana Project, iPause, Bright Light Therapy, Pet Therapy, Student Wellness Coaching and more.

“I think something that a lot of the OU community doesn’t take advantage of are the programs and services the OU RecWell offers that aren’t just the gym. It can be intimidating to join a gym but the OU RecWell offers opportunities to be healthy through means that aren’t just physical which students have at their disposal,” Rodela says.

The campaign shows what OU students can gain from going to the Rec as opposed to an off-campus gym. Some advantages include, but are not limited to: free Rec membership as an OU student and free access to all special events, group classes and fitness equipment — amenities which often cost extra at an off-campus gym. 

“We really want to reach the underclassmen because they will start the positive trend and cycle of information moving forward,” Rodela says. 

Grace Lee, another OU student behind the campaign says, “I know personally when I work out I do feel better mentally and physically, so this campaign is saying, ‘If you want to go on a journey of being healthier, this is a great place to start.’”