Written by Stacy Roibal // Graphic by Wagner Valdez
HU Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) has introduced various new opportunities for students to get involved this semester. They are offering two new classes, training for club and intramural sports, tailgates for spring sports and other events that will be taking place over the coming months.
Dr. Britney Finley, the director of HEAL and an assistant professor in the Kinesiology Department, said their mission is to use their God-given talents to spread the message of holistic wellness on campus.
“It’s not about body image, how we look, diet culture, any of that,” Finley said. “We’re taking care of these bodies so that we can do the work that God has given us, and if it’s not about that, then we don’t want to be a part of it.”
New this semester is a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class led by Hazel Jackson on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in the Ganus Activities Complex (GAC) mirror room. Finley explained that a HIIT workout alternates between high intensity movements and short periods of low intensity movements.
The other new class is yoga on Thursdays at 7:15 p.m. in the GAC mirror room led by Dr. Amy Qualls, a professor from the English Department. Finley said she hopes having these classes in the evening will encourage more people to come.
Sophomore Jiana Manglicmot has been attending HEAL’s yoga class this semester. She hadn’t previously been involved with HEAL but has loved the experience.
“My friends and I love working out, and we love Dr. Qualls, so it’s the best of both worlds,” Manglicmot said.
Manglicmot also felt that the environment was very calming and safe. After attending the class, she saw what a special opportunity HEAL is offering at Harding.
“I realized that there are spaces on campus where I don’t have to feel intimidated to take care of my body,” Manglicmot said.
HEAL is also offering a new opportunity for intramural and club sports teams to receive basketball training from junior Leah Ward, who is on the HEAL club sport training and social media teams.
“She’s helping them with their basketball skills and having little practices,” Finley said. “It’s actually pretty popular.”
Junior Elise Siklosi is the spiritual life coordinator for HEAL, and said they are working on having a spiritual retreat in March partnered with HU Explore. Siklosi said the theme is “living water,” and the retreat will focus on “how we can all sit under the steady stream of the Lord so that we can overflow to other people and therefore share the living water with others.”
Another event in the works is called “If Gathering,” which Siklosi said stands for “if God is real — then what? What is our next step of action?” A group of random people will be gathered around a table to eat a healthy meal together and discuss important questions.
“They will be given cards with questions to ask, and they’re not just surface level questions,” Siklosi said. “It’s like, ‘What are you longing for?’ or ‘How has God shown up in your life?’ The end goal is to have that group of people be closer together. We want to help build stronger relationships through HEAL.”
Finley said they are excited about “if tables” and the opportunity to bridge gaps between a community of people who have a common love for Jesus. There is no official date yet, but HEAL hopes to host at least one gathering this semester.
HEAL also partners with Nourished Souls, which is a community of encouragement for body image and disordered eating. Finley said they want a space for people to be able to talk about their struggles.
“We’re gonna punch the enemy in the face and get him away because that is not why we’re eating healthy, and that is not why we’re exercising — it’s all about health,” Finley said.
HEAL has monthly hangouts, which Finley said are a great opportunity for anyone in the student body to hang out with HEAL leaders and ambassadors to learn about what they do and have some fun. The next hangout is Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. More information can be found on the HEAL Instagram page @harding_heal.