CHAARG Starting Chapter at Colgate


CHAARG at Colgate

Lalana Sharma, Maroon-News Staff

Changing Health, Attitudes, + Actions to Recreate Girls (CHAARG) will open a chapter on campus in the spring of 2020. With chapters in over 70 universities and a community of over 10,000 women, CHAARG is a nationally recognized organization that strives to help college-aged women start and continue their fitness and health journeys beyond cardio machines.

CHAARG founder Elisabeth Tavierne wrote about her goals and mission for the future of the program on CHAARG’s official website.

“My mission is to empower every CHAARG girl to be the best version of herself. I truly hope that all of our members find their passion for health [and] fitness — whatever that means to them. While CHAARG focuses a lot on fitness, living a healthy life is so much more than the physical aspect. I hope all of our members grow to embrace a healthy [and] happy lifestyle. I hope that they find a supportive [and] encouraging community [and] that they meet not only workout buddies, but lifelong friends,” Tavierne stated.

Sophomore Kaitlin Connelly serves as the CHAARG President and Ambassador for Colgate’s chapter. She said that CHAARG memberships will provide students with various in-person and digital resources. 

“Upon receiving your membership, you will instantly gain access to the CHAARG blog, which includes hundreds of recipes created by dieticians, hundreds of at-home and gym workouts created by personal trainers and inspirational blog posts to keep you staying motivated. Members will also be able to make an inCHAARG Instagram account, where they can post about their wellness journeys,” Connelly said.

According to Connelly, a CHAARG membership also includes access to workout guides and leadership development.

“Members will be able to participate in [ten] workouts that are led by certified instructors from varying studios. These workouts can be anything from yoga to boxing to dancing. Additionally, if members eventually want to be on Exec, they get access to a really extensive Leadership Development Program called CHAARG Strong, [which] really sets you up for success in the professional field,” Connelly said. 

Connelly introduced the concept of small groups, which are run by CHAARG executive members on a weekly basis.

“[With small groups], we have the freedom to do so many things like coordinating a workout at the gym, going for a hike, or even just going downtown for breakfast together. This is a space where members get to form a strong connection by bonding over the passion to live a healthy lifestyle,” Connelly said.

CHAARG also provides its members with social opportunities, as explained by Connelly and CHAARG executive member sophomore Alexandra Bornozis.

“We have socials throughout the year. Some ideas we have so far are a Galentine’s Day Potluck, a menstrual product drive, or even just a scavenger hunt around town,” Connelly said. “We even host formals,” Bornozis said. “It’s kind of a fitness sorority if you can imagine.”

Bringing CHAARG to Colgate and incorporating it into the community required the combined efforts of multiple Colgate students. Originally brought to Colgate by sophomore Courtney Day, CHAARG is now led by Connelly who took on the responsibility as Colgate’s CHAARG Ambassador and President.

Connelly and the executive team, comprised of first-year Sophie Bennett, Bornozis, sophomore Sophie Clark, sophomore Cat Conti, sophomore Bella Stamati and sophomore Evie Unger-Harquail, have received various levels of training in order to facilitate the CHAARG’s establishment at Colgate.

“[Executive members] have three to four weeks of training to complete, in the form of online modules. I, on the other hand, have nine weeks of training. My training is all about being a good leader, learning about the story and values of CHAARG and how to bring it to Colgate. We are doing this training in the fall to hopefully start the Chapter for the Spring,” Connelly said.

Despite extensive training and preparation, Connelly and other executive members still face obstacles in establishing CHAARG at Colgate.

“We are having difficulty given extensive Colgate policies. It has been very frustrating trying to get into contact with the right faculty and staff, some have been extremely accommodating while others have been very hard to contact. Colgate has a lot of policies,” Connelly said. “However, myself along with my six other [executive] members have been trying to spread the word to get as much support as possible. I truly believe the more people who show their interest, the more likely we will be able to officially start CHAARG here.”

Connelly elaborated on the importance of officially starting CHAARG at Colgate, speaking to CHAARG ideals and the discomfort experienced by women that it seeks to expel.

“I see so many women confining themselves to the two mats at the bottom of Trudy, or to cardio machines alone because they are too intimidated to branch out. CHAARG will give them the 

opportunity to explore the fitness world in an encouraging and supportive space. I hope by the time I graduate, girls are super excited to join and be members, and that eventually, no student will bind themselves to those two mats,” Connelly said.

CHAARG will be hosting an upcoming informational session. Connelly encourages students to be on the lookout for the session and contact her either through Instagram (@colgate_inchaarg) or at [email protected] for more information and to be added to CHAARG’s Weekly Newsletter.