Is your workout routine getting stale? Give networking out a chance.
Run This Campus is a new organization focused on promoting fitness through networking, or “networking out.” Unlike many athletic and wellness groups, RTC is focused on collaboration rather than competition. It also provides the opportunity for participants to engage with community leaders, peers and potential employers.
RTC is based off of an organization with operations Detroit and Chicago called Run This Town, which was founded in 2012. Usually 400 to 1,000 people participate in two sessions a week in those cities, according to the group’s organizers.
LSA senior Omar Hashwi, former vice president of the Central Student Government, helped grow RTC. The group held its first meeting on Sept. 17 and will soon announce inaugural events. Hashwi hopes the University’s numbers will reach or surpass the attendance rate of Run This Town.
“My goal is to create a healthier campus by creating one of the largest collaborative fitness sessions in the U.S. here at our University,” Hashwi said.
Run This Town founder Shawn Blanchard said the idea of creating a networking group based on wellness came to him while running with a friend in Detroit, where he was perplexed that there were no runners along the recently renovated waterfront. Having heard about the group through Facebook, about 30 people came to the first event. That number rapidly grew to more than 200 people within the first few months.
The program soon attracted guest appearances by prominent local figures, and it went on to win a Spirit of Detroit Award in 2012. After the program expanded to Chicago, Blanchard said his next goal was to reach out to a college campus. Michigan, his alma mater, was the first choice.
“We understand the demographic at Michigan is a bit different with respect to there’s more younger people that are excited about fitness,” Blanchard said. “And they should be exposed to ‘networking out.’ ”
The ultimate goal of RTC is to branch out and introduce as many students to “networking out” as possible.
“It brings relationships into a different category, so it enables students to be in the network in a different realm,” Blanchard said. “Which will help students in more ways than one — both physically and professionally.”
The program is currently recruiting University students, faculty and administrators as well as professionals from the Ann Arbor community.
“RTC’s networking out sessions provide a venue for aspiring professionals of all fitness levels to participate in collaborative fitness sessions,” Hashwi said. “As well as expand their personal, professional and healthy lifestyle networks.”
The organizers plan on hosting their meetings on the Diag to begin with a pre-workout session in one, larger group and then breaking into smaller groups based on a exercise preference.
A frequent runner, Public Policy senior Olivia Thompson said she thinks it will be a unique way to get to know professors other than meeting with them during office hours.
“It’s a cool way for students to interact with teachers outside of the classroom,” she said.