Eat Smart · Feel Great

Make Mondays Great Again

The Healthy Monday campaign at Syracuse University originated on campus in 2006 with the goal of creating and sustaining healthy behaviors for students, faculty, and the Syracuse community through free fitness and nutrition programs, as well as general wellbeing programs.

Despite Healthy Monday being a nationwide campaign with a strong goal and clear message to the college audience, Healthy Monday is not as widely acknowledged on the Syracuse University campus as it should be.

Newhouse alum Sid Lerner founded The Monday Campaigns in 2003 in association with Johns Hopkins University. The campaigns started off with Meatless Monday and have since grown to include more than a half-dozen efforts including Healthy Monday and Move-it Monday. Meatless Monday urges students to give up meat for one day a week
to “increase your intake of plant-based foods like fruits & vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts & seeds,” according to its website. Move-it Monday is a program that offers free fitness classes to students and faculty on the SU campus. The classes are 45 minutes fueled with fun and intensity to get your heart rate pumping and those calories busted—free of cost!

With an array of activities at college, students can participate in essentially whatever they want—which may not always be the healthiest activities. Gym plans seem to fall through when a student realizes he or she is too hungover to hit the elliptical; students get two hours of sleep when cramming for an exam; friends order pizza or Insomnia Cookies after a late night out, and so on. It is fairly easy to become unhealthy in college, which is why participating in Healthy Monday and spreading its message should be a necessity.

Syracuse University has integrated Healthy Monday programs in more ways than one. The Healthy Monday campaign offers programs such as Move-it Monday, the Monday Mile, Quit & Stay Quit Monday, Mindful Monday, and I Love NY Water and even has a “Healthy Monday” in Florence, Italy.

Although Healthy Monday offers a variety of programs that handle different aspects of health, no one program is more important than the other. Leah Moser, Syracuse University’s Healthy Monday program coordinator, says it is equally important how people treat their bodies and their minds and not one program is more beneficial than another. “The most important part of our campaign is the partnership across campus and promoting balance,” she says. We work with food services, health promotions, and Hendricks Chapel to build partnerships.”

There is a new chef at the Syracuse dining centers who prepares healthy and ethnic meals for students; there are free exercise programs on Mondays and Fridays at the gyms on campus; and there is also weekly mediation at Hendricks chapel to escape stress and achieve mindfulness.

The Healthy Monday campaign makes it easier for Syracuse students to achieve and maintain mental and physical health and mindfulness, Moser says. Whether they are on campus or in a foreign country, students can now live a healthy lifestyle thanks to the programs provided by Healthy Monday.

Anise Kamel, the program coordinator of the Florence, Italy, Healthy Monday program, emphasized the importance of incorporating Healthy Monday while abroad in a new city, “Living in a new culture means a new cuisine and it is very difficult to maintain the same balanced diet,” she says. The Florence program not only features free exercise classes—Zumba being a fan favorite, according to Kamel— and serves free fruit, the coordinators say they also want to start putting out a weekly newsletter and blog posts with various nutrition and exercise topics to further help students stay healthy while studying abroad.  While in foreign countries, students have easier access to alcohol than they most likely do in college and get a taste of new cuisines and dishes they are not accustomed to at home, so it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet without any guidance. “It’s very easy for students to drink more than they normally would and in total consume an excessive amount of carbs and sugar,” Kamel says.

Having a Healthy Monday abroad program available to students is a great way for them to establish a healthy lifestyle in their new city with the help of free fitness classes, free fruit, newsletters, and blog posts with tips and tricks.

Next Monday, rethink your day. Instead of having a hamburger at the dining hall, make yourself a hearty salad with healthy fats and veggies—and maybe even participate in the Monday mile.  Spread the word about Healthy Monday and help Syracuse University students make Mondays great again.


By Gabriella Salkin