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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Loyola Campus Groups Collaborate to Build Female Empowerment Through Fitness

Loyola Campus Groups Collaborate to Build Female Empowerment Through Fitness

A smile spread across Mari Mussoline ‘24’s face as she glistened, emerging from her yoga class at the Ladies Night event at Loyola University Maryland’s Fitness and Aquatic Center.

“That was amazing,” Mussoline said. “I need that kind of confidence boost every night.”  

The Department of Recreation and Wellness and the Women’s Center have invited women from Loyola’s campus to build self-worth, confidence, and empowerment through an ongoing collaboration between the two departments this semester. The two campus groups have been collaborating through a variety of events such as Resource Thursday, Ladies Night, and  Empowered Women classes. 

Mussoline has participated in many events hosted between the Department of Recreation and Wellness and the Women’s Center. Mussoline says that the energy at these events is contagious. 

“There are so many people that you can meet, and I really enjoy learning about new workouts  and just healthy habits in general,” Mussoline said. “It can feel a bit vulnerable when you are admitting you want help in a setting like the gym, but everyone at these events is so supportive that I don’t mind going.”  

Marissa Binkley ’23 is an intern at the Women’s Center where she supports events the campus group plans. Binkley says that they create these events to build community and work to destress students with different resources on campus.  

“Sometimes the gym can be a little intimidating, especially in the weight room, but we create  these events to show women all different things that the FAC has to offer. It allows them to get  comfortable and acclimated to the gym itself,” Binkley said. 

According to Binkley, the collaboration between these two departments has been a main focus of the Women’s Center this semester. They have been focusing on physical care being an aspect of the mental care and stress reduction they traditionally focus on.  

“The Department of Recreation and Wellness can focus more on the physical care,” Binkley said. “So their collaboration is so important because it allows students to use these two resources and care for their physical and mental health together.”  

Binkley also said that the Empowered Women classes are a great introduction to the gym as they bring people together and create a new community in someone’s fitness journey. Mussoline agreed and found that learning new ways to work out from these programs has boosted her confidence.  

“It is just a really nice way to learn how to lift or participate in group classes. The introduction  to the gym through these classes is the best way for me to feel comfortable and be able to go in  and workout on my own. It helps me get over my own insecurities when it comes to fitness,” Mussoline said.

Nada Jokhadar ‘23 is a lifting instructor in Loyola’s group fitness program and leads participants through Empowered Women classes. First, there is a 45-minute workout and then a 15-minute session where they go over a healthy habit, like healing your relationship with food or ending over-exercising.

For Jokhadar, collaborating with the Women’s Center has been powerful and created a vulnerability that bonded the group. She explained that the director of the Women’s Center, Melissa Lees, joined them for their October class, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She said that when Lees shared her personal battle with breast cancer, it was a very moving experience for their class that night. Jokhadar said that she has enjoyed working with the Women’s Center and feels like she has grown while teaching these classes and creating this community.  

“I do feel empowered as an instructor,” Jokhadar said. “I get to mix my passion of working out with helping others and the byproduct is creating a strong female community.”  

According to Binkley, many more events are occurring at the Women’s Center that build up the female community on Loyola’s campus. The events reduce stress and promote self-care during stressful times of the year. 

Click here to learn more about the Women’s Center and click here to learn more about the Fitness and Aquatic Center.

Featured Image Courtesy of Meaghan Parsons.

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Loyola Campus Groups Collaborate to Build Female Empowerment Through Fitness