time to exercise can be a hassle, especially for working adults with family commitments
or financial constraints. To diminish the hurdles to a good workout, a group of
Ball State students participated in an immersive learning experience in fall
2013 to create a community-based nutrition, exercise, and child care program for
Muncie residents. Their first effort: introducing them to the Latin-inspired, dance fitness program known as Zumba.
students' Zumba class met at Muncie's Buley Community Center. Twice each week
for an hour, upwards of 20 to 30 local women and men sweated it out with the
students in the free program. After exercising, the participants ate a free,
healthy meal carefully planned and prepared by dietetic majors.
success of the pilot Zumba class has been encouraging to project director Shannon
Powers, an instructor in the School of Kinesiology.
"The fact that the program was absolutely free
guaranteed its success,"
she says. "There is a paucity
of physical activity programs in Delaware County. If Muncie and Ball State
could partner on a master plan for the city in 10 years, it should include physical
activity programs to draw more people to the area. I am impressed with the
Whitely neighborhood and its residents’ desire to be physically active."
the project, Powers worked in 2013 to secure a $2,000 grant from the IndianaAlliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. Funding allowed for eight local
participants to get certified as Zumba Basic 1 instructors. In return, those
instructors can now sustain the Zumba class at the Buley Center and other possible
locations in Muncie.
says, “They can use their Zumba instructor certification to spread their
passion for a healthy and physically active lifestyle. I’m hoping it has a
ripple effect in the community.”
students like Emily Rapoza, teaching Zumba at the Buley Center has given back more
to her than she expected.
immersive learning project has created an environment that allows me to do what
I love, which is teaching Zumba, as well as become involved with other students
at Ball State and members of the Muncie community.”
teaching Zumba at Buley, Rapoza saw firsthand how the course made an impact on
the Muncie community.
woman had been wanting to get certified and was thrilled to know that we would
be able to give her the means to become a Zumba instructor,” Rapoza says.
“Knowing that I was part of a project that could make someone’s dream a reality
is an incredible feeling.”
in the interdisciplinary project, which included dietetics, history, health
science, and elementary education majors, presented nutritious meals with healthy
alternatives to typical ingredients.
“The students made some
delicious entrées as part of the program,” Powers says. “The participants loved
the cookbook. I hope the cookbook will be beneficial to those of the general
public. We’re hoping the program creates a self-sustaining healthy lifestyle