When Oxford College was looking to enhance the education of its students, it looked toward physical education and put together a task force to come up with a new idea.
That idea became the Center for Healthful Living, a new concept among smaller schools, which integrates several programs under one banner.
In 2010, Oxford College dean Stephen H. Bowen put together a task force, which included Dean for Campus Life Joe Moon, Dean for Academic Affairs Kent Linville, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Ken Anderson, Athletics Director Brandon Feldman and members of Oxford’s physical education faculty. They came up with the new approach of bringing healthy living to the school beyond academic courses, intramurals and intercollegiate athletics.
In 2012 the CHL was implemented, and varsity sports, academics and physical education
programs were all brought under one program, led by Amanda Yu. That program continues to this day, and has so far been a success, according to Oxford’s athletic director.
“It’s a new paradigm that we’re doing at smaller schools,” said Roderick Stubbs, who replaced Feldman as Oxford athletic director in June. “We really think it’s going to be something that’s successful and will go on to other schools.”
Oxford students are now encouraged to participate in physical activities while also learning about new opportunities for healthy living.
Students are even earning credit while doing so under a program called Play Oxford.
“Students in academic classes can do all kinds of physical activity like bike riding, weight training, yoga and intramurals to get credit for doing those activities,” Stubbs said.
According to an Oxford College press release, students must complete 36 hours of physical activity in 14 weeks staying healthy for up to two hours a day and five days a week on his or her own schedule. Students check in with a Play Oxford supervisor after participating in an activity, such as 45-minute cardio slots, staff- and faculty-hosted activities, swim fitness slots, group fitness classes, intramural slots, and health and wellness seminars, to record the time and get credit.
"It is up to the student when they would like to participate, based on these simple guidelines," said Assistant Athletic Director Pete Sherrard, who created and administers Play Oxford.