Penn State Berks 'Walks to the Moon' to enhance community health

Labyrinth Walk Penn State Berks

Community members at Penn State Berks walk the campus labyrinth. The campus' newly expanded walking trail connects to the labyrinth, which serves as a perfect stopping point for hikers in need of a mindfulness break.

Credit: Penn State

Penn State Berks, in partnership with Penn State LionPulse, has taken steps to improve health and wellness initiatives on campus thanks to a seed grant supporting the “Enhancing Health” thematic priority in the University’s strategic plan.  

After reviewing feedback from the campus’ student and employee wellness assessment, LionPulse Health Champion Lisa Weaver and the Berks wellness committee discovered that physical activity was of particular interest to the community. As a result of these findings, the committee invested to expand the existing walking trail on campus by 1 mile. Additionally, after learning that several previously established trails were overgrown, the group unanimously agreed to reinstate and maintain these trails to help promote physical activity on campus.

The newly preserved paths are accessible to all campus members, and the trails connect to the existing campus labyrinth — a serene spot on campus that is often underutilized. The labyrinth serves as a perfect stopping point along the new path, as 53% of Berks’ students and employees indicated that they are interested in mindfulness breaks, along with safe, accessible walking routes.

With the creation of new footpaths and repairs to current trails, the wellness committee has launched a new walking initiative called the “Berks Walk to the Moon” challenge. The challenge’s official kick-off event was held on Aug. 21, and 11 participants got a jump-start on steps by participating in a campus walk.

A new map highlights the route of the Penn State Berks campus walking trail.

A new map highlights the route of the Penn State Berks campus walking trail. 

Credit: Penn State

With this particular challenge, departments are encouraged to increase step counts by Dec. 6 for a chance to win fun prizes. The campus-wide goal is to walk 477,714,000 steps — the equivalent of 240,000 miles — which is the number of steps it would take to reach the moon. To increase challenge participation, Weaver hosted a promotional table and distributed nearly 200 flyers to encourage students and staff to partake in the competition.

In addition to the step challenge, the new trails are utilized for other activities such as daily “Walks with a Kinesiologist.” The Berks wellness committee also implemented a LionPulse walk between Penn State Berks and Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center to connect the campuses due to their close proximity.

During Berks’ homecoming weekend on Sept. 28, nearly 30 students, alumni and families also joined in on the hiking fun.

“[The walk] was very positive,” said Weaver. “Many alumni and families of current students enjoyed learning about [the trail] and walking the trail that connects Penn State Berks to Penn State Health St. Joseph.”   

Interested in future LionPulse events on your campus? To stay on the pulse with wellness events and resources, visit LionPulse is a Penn State PRO Wellness initiative to enhance wellness within the Penn State community, funded through a seed grant that supports the University’s strategic plan.