Three SUNY schools in Central New York compete in a cross-campus wellness challenge

Last year, Cayuga Community College campus members walked 67,683,725 steps, lost 265 pounds, raised more than $420 for the Make A Wish Foundation, and contributed more than 2,000 canned items, 20 hams, and $270 to Cayuga County and Oswego County food pantries during its third annual Fitness Challenge.

This year, Cayuga is stepping up the challenge by inviting two other SUNY campuses to compete.

In this pilot year of the newly rebranded SUNY Wellness Challenge, campus members from Cayuga, SUNY Cortland, and Onondaga Community College will participate in a friendly eight-week competition that promotes healthy living, fitness and building workplace camaraderie.

“Yes, like our waistlines during the holiday season, the Wellness Challenge is expanding,” said Adam Williams, SUNY Wellness Challenge Steering Committee member and Cayuga’s webmaster. “We are hoping a little friendly competition between Cayuga, OCC, and Cortland will be fun and will increase the health and happiness of our campuses. In the spirit of Chancellor Zimpher’s Power of SUNY initiatives in creating a ‘healthier New York’ – one of her six big ideas – we are laying down the challenge to our SUNY peers. Cayuga has a reputation to uphold, so they better get their walking shoes ready!”

Organized by the Cayuga Community College Wellness Committee and the Administrative Professionals Group and peers at Cortland and OCC, the SUNY Wellness Challenge brings together four-person teams in a friendly contest to see which team earns the most points by tracking steps and exercise routines. Participants also can earn extra points for eating five fruits and veggies a day, having blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, participating in special wellness events, and giving blood.

“SUNY Cortland is excited about the challenge,” said Carol A. Van Derr Karr, associate provost for academic affairs and member of the SUNY Wellness Steering Committee. “Cayuga Community College has developed an effective, fun, community based program to support wellness. We admire the work they’ve done and appreciate their collegiality in reaching out to share this program with other campuses.”

“We proudly accept the Wellness Challenge and look forward to improving our physical fitness while also helping others,” said Cathleen C. McColgin, provost and senior vice president and SUNY Wellness Challenge Steering Committee member.

The challenge gets underway February 25 and runs through April 21. Organizers are planning cross-campus kickoff activities and hope to hold a closing awards ceremony as well.

To keep tabs on the competition, visit