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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


New CHAARG group prioritizes gym-focused women

The largest health and wellness community on college campuses is now available at FAU
Laurie Mermet
CHAARG members at the end of the class

CHAARG – an acronym for Changing Health, Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls-is the largest health and wellness community on college campuses and is currently at 112 universities. 

The club was founded in 2012 at Ohio State University by former collegiate competitive swimmer Elisabeth Tavierne, who noticed a huge gender division in gyms and whose goal was to create a safe space for women to try different workouts and be supported by one another.

“My goal with CHAARG was to liberate girls from the elliptical,” Tavierne said in the CHAARG podcast. “I hoped that CHAARG would help girls not only find workout buddies but also friends.”

FAU incorporated CHAARG at the start of FALL 2023.

Summer Watson, special education sophomore and CHAARG’s group leader, expressed her excitement about the club.

“This is CHAARG’s first semester at FAU… and we are thrilled with the turnout so far,” said Watson. 

Watson and sophomore Ashlee Pollack jointly introduced CHAARG to FAU over the Summer of 2023, when each of them, along with the rest of the executive team, completed the online training. 

Upon following a CHAARG Instagram account from West Chester University in southeastern Pa., Pollack received a message from the official CHAARG Instagram account expressing their desire to expand the community to additional campuses. 

“I thought [CHAARG] would be a great fit for FAU, so I applied to start a chapter on their website, and once the application got approved, Summer and I reached out to people and posted about it a lot on the FAU 2026 story to try and recruit members,” said Pollack.

After securing approval for the application, Watson contacted her former math professor to serve as an adviser, enabling the club to attain official status and conduct campus meetings and business with authority. 

“I think [joining CHAARG] is a great opportunity for girls to get involved in the gym, especially since it can be very intimidating when going by yourself,” Pollack, VP of Membership and multimedia studies major at FAU, said. Pollack’s primary responsibility within CHAARG is to ensure member retention.

CHAARG members participate in group workouts, wellness challenges, and other activities focused on promoting physical and mental wellbeing. 

CHAARG holds its workouts every Thursday between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., typically at FAU’s Recreation and Fitness Center. Each workout session has a duration of 45 minutes to one hour, and past workouts have included pilates, Zumba, cycling and HIIT training. 

“I love trying new things, and I love being active, but going to the gym really intimidates me… and I feel like so many girls can relate to it too,” said Watson. “We get to try different things like Zumba, which I’ve never done before, and it was so much fun.”

CHAARG also uses other fitness studios in Boca Raton for their workouts, one of them being Sweat440

In addition to the workouts, CHAARG also holds two small group meetings a week that can either involve more physical activity or other non-fitness social activities. Members are divided in half depending on availability, and small group meetings are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

“We’ve had two small group meetings so far, and they’re great because it gives all members a chance to do something collectively during the week since not everybody can make it to the weekly workout,” said Walter. “The first one was a study session at Starbucks, and the second was a walk on the Tortuga Trail next to campus.”

Members attested that small groups fostered the development of stronger bonds between them. 

“Small groups are mainly for us to become friends and get to know each other a little more,” said Pollack. 

CHAARG also organizes “socials”, which are events or gatherings not focused on fitness or workouts but rather serve as opportunities for members to form closer bonds and have fun outside of their regular wellness activities. The nature and frequencies of socials vary from one CHAARG chapter to another but usually occur once or twice a semester -as opposed to small groups, which occur twice a week.

“We are currently planning our social this month, which is going to be ice skating,” geoscience junior Ariana Miranda said. 

Miranda is CHAARG’s event coordinator, responsible for reaching out to studios for their fees and availability, renting rooms at FAU’s Recreation Center and planning the weekly workouts. 

“We make plans that are rather low-cost just because we don’t have the biggest budget right now, so we’ve had to scale back and make do with what we’ve got,” Miranda said. 

The team voiced their apprehension about insufficient funds potentially hindering their future plans. 

“We can’t really do everything we’d like to do,” said Pollack. “We wanted to take boxing classes, but a lot of places that offer them don’t do deals with students, or at least none that are in our price range.”

CHAARG currently has 27 members, and if they don’t reach 60 by the end of the Spring 2024 semester recruitment, the club will be shut down.

“I think it’s harder for us to recruit members because although we’re constantly posting about CHAARG on our Instagram accounts, FAU is a smaller school than other universities that have CHAARG,” Walter said. 

Students have the option to purchase memberships for either a single semester -Fall or Spring- or for the entire academic year, excluding the Summer semester. The membership fee for one semester is $57, while a full-year membership costs $109. These memberships encompass access to all weekly workouts, social events, and small group activities. 

“I’m not in a sorority, so I think joining CHAARG is a great way to make new girlfriends without being in Greek life,” said Pollack. “For anyone that’d like to join, it’s a great opportunity to find new things you like and meet new people who share the same interests.”

To join CHAARG, visit CHAARG


Laurie Mermet is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Laurie Mermet
Laurie Mermet, Student Life Editor
Laurie Mermet is a senior pursuing a bachelor's in multimedia journalism with a minor in public relations. 

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