GV CHAARG offers fitness-centered community for female students


Courtesy / CHAARG

Isabelle England, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s CHAARG chapter, which stands for Changing Health Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls, aims to create a safe space for women to broaden their fitness experience with different methods of working out, while building a strong community of women to support each other. 

“The organization was founded by Elisabeth Tavierne at Ohio State University in 2012,” said CHAARG Secretary Katie Finley. “She noticed a divide between men and women in her campus gym. A majority of the women were on treadmills and ellipticals while men dominated the weight room. She wanted to create a place where women could experiment with different methods of working out and founded the first CHAARG group on her college campus.”

Since then, CHAARG has spread to over 110 different universities around the country and continues to grow as one of the largest health and wellness communities on college campuses today. The group as a whole hopes to cross borders and reach beyond the US to other countries to help women all over the world foster a sense of community while staying active.

The group sponsors several events on campus including weekly workouts, social events and other bonding opportunities. In the past, CHAARG has hosted several events for their members to try out different ways of staying physically active like Pilates, kickboxing, cardio, dance and yoga. They also put together movie nights, game nights and craft nights for the members.

“CHAARG encourages finding new ways to stay active which helps improve physical and mental health,” said CHAARG Ambassador Chloe Bowyer. “CHAARG is a group that makes women feel empowered and encourages trying new things. This resource creates a safe place for people to try new workouts without feeling any judgment.”

In addition to the chapter-wide weekly workouts, CHAARG offers small groups of five-to-ten girls within the chapter a set schedule to meet at the same time and day every week for workouts or social activities. They also have a program called Bolt Babes, where two members within the chapter are paired together and can then choose when they want to get together and what they’d like to do.

The group holds socials throughout the semester for everyone in the chapter to socialize and get to know one another in a larger social setting. This semester, group members are looking forward to ice skating and the CHAARG formal.

“CHAARG’s mission at Grand Valley is to show girls that fitness can be fun and you don’t have to stick to the elliptical,” said CHAARG Treasurer Skylar Dixon. “CHAARG also provides a safe and supportive environment for girls to try new workouts and to make new friends along the way.”

Every Monday evening the group meets to workout with a certified instructor from a local studio either at their studio or on campus. This semester guest teachers from Spoke Cycle and Strength, Title Boxing and F45 will be joining CHAARG for different fitness classes. 

“Throughout high school, I used sports to stay active, but in college I no longer had sports,” said CHAARG Event Coordinator Maria Rush. “I found CHAARG on social media and it quickly became my new way of staying active. CHAARG has helped me find new workout styles, encouraged me to remain physically fit and led to new friendships.” 

For students interested in joining CHAARG, they can stop by the group’s table during Campus Nightlife or visit them on Facebook @GVSU.inchaarg or Instagram @gvsu_inchaarg.