Review of Physical Education Classes for the Fall Semester


Zach Schiller, Sports Editor

Like most programs on campus this semester, Colgate’s Physical Education department has faced its fair share of challenges. Due to the effects of COVID-19, classes normally offered in areas such as racquetball, golf and self-defense were unavailable this fall. As a result, the department had to reimagine what physical education would look like this semester.

The biggest challenge this semester has been the limited variety of classes we could offer due to public health and safety protocols,” Colgate’s Director of Recreation and Physical Education Katie Kammerdiener said. “We are fortunate that at Colgate, Physical Education (PHED) is truly Wellness Education; this has allowed us more flexibility than on some campuses where PE really means Physical Education.”

One example of this flexibility has been an Intuitive Eating course offered to students on zoom this semester, which has provided an opportunity for students to become more in touch with their health and reconnect with their internal wisdom about eating.

“I have found that with this specific class, which is more focused on well-being and mindfulness than physical exercises; zoom does not really hinder the class,” senior Andrew Blum said. “I feel the class has still been pretty interactive. We screenshare worksheets and even brought our own food and water to class one time and did a mindful eating exercise.”

In addition to Colgate’s online offerings of PHED this semester, Outdoor Education (OE) was still able to offer several in person classes such as Geocaching, a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game where students learn to navigate with a global positioning system (GPS) in the backcountry.

“For three days one week, myself and two OE instructors explored outside and I learned about Geocaching, it was a really good experience,” said senior Aaron Mendelson. And while Mendelson’s experience with this class was certainly different from his previous PHED class, he appreciated the small class size. “I went from having nine students on my wilderness adventure to just being me. But I really didn’t mind it. I thought it was a really nice way to get to know the OE instructors. It made the class more personalized and I really like that.”

With all of the changes taking place both in the department and on campus more broadly, Kammerdiener has been incredibly proud of the resilience the students have shown and the creativity and flexibility of the instructors.

“We have courses that are being taught in new ways, instructors exploring new topics to align with the eight dimensions of wellness model that creates the foundation for the PHED curriculum, and new partners on campus who are contributing to PHED course options. I think these changes will be impactful for the program long after the pandemic is over, and will hopefully allow us to continue to offer relevant, beneficial options for students that help them thrive during their time at Colgate and afterward.”

While Kammerdiener does not expect much to change with the PHED program next semester, she remains hopeful that more fitness programming, both in person and online, will be available next semester. Additionally, she is open to any new ideas the student body may have about possible courses for next semester.

“We always welcome proposals for new course or workshop ideas that align with one or more dimensions of wellness that resonate with students; one of the benefits of our PHED model is that the curriculum is ever-evolving, and course topics can (and should) reflect the needs and interests of the student body.”