March 30, 2020

Stay Connected

UMass Amherst Campus Rec offers Zoom workouts, gaming tournaments, and more

“Are you ready for some boot camp?” asks Jill Isabelle ’06, assistant director for group fitness for Campus Recreation. Thirty-five UMass Amherst students, watching Isabelle on Zoom from their homes all across the country, are more than ready

The Campus Recreation staff is putting its considerable energy into promoting student health and wellbeing while students are learning away from campus. Their efforts are part of a broad campus-wide outreach to support community, connection, and resilience in the time of Covid-19. (For a comprehensive list of campus resources compiled by the UMass Amherst office of Wellbeing, Access, and Prevention, see the link at the end of this story.)

“There are a lot of virtual workouts students could do from home,” says Isabelle. “Offering workouts through Zoom from Campus Rec is really more about staying connected and keeping students engaged.”

Nicholas D’Amato ’12, senior assistant director for sport programs, agrees. D’Amato is running video game tournaments for students, starting with FIFA soccer, Madden football, and NBA2K. He says, “This is a way to keep students talking to other students. It gives them something fun to do while following recommendations for social distancing.”

Isabelle leads daily virtual workouts from the deck of her home. One evening during the first week of classes, students chatted with her via Zoom before the warm-up. “Is that your puppy?” she asked. “I see your Mom!”

Junior Lauren Dion joined the boot camp from her parents’ basement in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Dion said, “I love this class. UMass is our home and we can’t be there. When you can’t be with your friends it’s important to have the sense of community that a class like this brings.”

Isabelle led the class through a challenging but simple virtual boot camp class. She ended the 30-minute session with a breathing exercise everyone can use these days: “Exhale negativity!” she exhorted. “Inhale positivity!”

Go to the Campus Recreation website or follow them on social media for information on virtual recreation and schedules.Campus Recreation