September 23rd, 2020
GC getting creative with student activities
Programming options: Outdoor yoga, community clean-ups, Netflix Watch Party
Front row: Angela Luby, CARC program coordinator aquatics/group fitness; Susie Mark, CARC assistant director. Middle row: Nate Darwin (Keene, N.H.), Quintin Smith (Morgantown, W.Va.). Next row: Tameron Jones. Last row: Armon Nettey (Silver Spring), Nasiir Duncan (Glen Burnie).
The most up-to-date information on Garrett College's response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including the Return to Operations Plan, can be found online at https://www.garrettcollege.edu/covid-19.
Outdoor yoga on the baseball field is just one example of how Garrett College is getting creative with student events during a pandemic.
GC offered outdoor yoga as one of the first activities of the fall semester last Thursday, drawing a large but socially distanced group of students mixed with several college staff members. Kelli Sisler – a certified yoga instructor whose "day job" at GC is director of analytics, institutional research, and assessment – taught the class, which included head baseball coach Eric Hallenbeck, assistant director of the Community Aquatic and Recreation Complex (CARC) Susie Mark, Angela Luby, program coordinator of aquatics/group fitness at the CARC, and a good number of his players.
"Yoga increases flexibility, prevents injuries and helps with balance," said Sisler. "It also helps with body awareness – identifying when something is out of alignment or just isn't right with your body."
Sisler – who, among her other job duties, conducts research dealing with student success – said yoga has advantages that go beyond its physical benefits.
"I think there is a real correlation between student activity and involvement, and student success," said Sisler.
Hallenbeck, while also noting the flexibility and injury prevention benefits of yoga, said events like last week's outdoor yoga "helps create more of a sense of normalcy."
Free yoga will be available on Fridays at 12 noon, weather permitting.
Brandon Jackson, GC's student activities manager, said Sisler and Hallenbeck have been wonderful partners in supporting and encouraging student participation.
"I'm working with Eric and Kelli to offer additional wellness programming," added Jackson. "The goal is to offer more yoga and fitness classes during the day and at night, and add other fitness-related activities."
Jackson is also developing other COVID-friendly programming, including Netflix Watch Party Night, a socially distanced Maryland Day to Serve project centered around a Bumble Bee Road and Campus Cleanup, and various "grab-n-go" food events.
"We want to make sure students have opportunities to do things even though it's taking more creativity during a pandemic," said Jackson.
Meanwhile, from a baseball perspective, Hallenbeck said his team's "fall ball" program is taking on a little different look for this year's Lakers.
"We're using individual and small-group practices to focus on individual development as well as spending more time working in our strength-and-conditioning program," said Hallenbeck. "It's not quite what we had in mind coming back this fall, but we will try to make it as normal as possible. As we continue through the semester we will have to make adjustments, but we have always had to do that."