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One game to rule ‘em all

Pokemon Go MindMatters Health Walk and the people behind it

Emilio Flores

Emilio Flores

Anthony Karambelas

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Over the summer, you might have heard of Pokemon Go and how it has taken over the phone batteries of players internationally. But, what if the game were sponsored by a school? Make that school Cal State LA. At the beginning of this semester, the MindMatters Initiative, founded by President William Covino and First Lady Debbie Covino, introduced the Pokemon Go Health Walk. If you’ve checked the Pokemon Go app on campus, you may have noticed that the University is home to 35 Pokestops and three gyms. All in all, Poke-heaven.

The upcoming Pokemon Go Health Walk on Wednesday, August 31st aims to utilize these many features to get students up and moving. The MindMatters committee released a path throughout campus, hitting all Pokestops and gyms. When completed, students will have walked just under 10,000 steps and hopefully caught some new pocket monsters. Due to the continually

But an event on such a scale simply wouldn’t be possible without a hard-working and dedicated staff, including a few noteworthy individuals. Robert Lopez, Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs and MindMatters committee member, along with several other students initially came up with the idea of the Pokemon Go Health Walk. They later brought it over to MindMatters in hopes of collaboration.

Nancy Wada-McKee (pictured), Vice-President of Student Life, noted that the Pokemon Go event was also not the first of its kind. Last spring at the MindMatters town hall, freshmen taking IHE classes brainstormed solutions to promote the importance of inner wellbeing among their peers. The winning group proposed a Golden Eagle Gym Walk around the quad. Partnering up with ASI, the walk included stations where students could partake in exercises or yoga. When the MindMatters committee debated the Pokemon Go Health Walk idea, they remembered the Gym Walk and immediately stressed the importance of making the new Health Walk a collaborative experience.

“It’s a way to build community; you get people to talk to one another. I think one of the best things that comes out of Pokemon Go is that now you have a lot of people engaging with each other, whereas if you’re just doing gaming by yourself then it’s much more solitary. So again, being collective, being in a community, all of that also contributes to wellbeing,” said Wada-Mckee.

The Pokemon Go Health Walk is just one of many other equally creative MindMatters programs, including #GetHeartChecked and the Therapy Dog Program. “I see the MindMatters initiative as being very far reaching in terms of developing a culture here of letting students know that we care about them. But also wanting them to pay attention to the ways stress might affect their performance in class. It’s also stressing the importance of mindfulness. It’s really helping students be more centered,” said Wada-Mckee.

Future MindMatters plans include the Cal State LA Food Insecurity/Displaced Students Task Force, which works to remedy student food insecurity (a serious epidemic among CSU students), housing displacement and financial literacy. Targeting these issues is designed to promote theme of student wellness.

As Vice President of Student Life, Wada-Mckee is one of the main authorities helping to foster a supportive environment for Cal State LA students. “I want students to know that their input is important. We engage with students every day. We have a staff who’s committed to help support them.”

“I’d like students to know that I want them to get involved in activities on campus to enrich their experiences and develop their leadership skills. Students who are connected and involved are successful in the classroom. I’d also like them to know that the staff in Student Life care about them and to ask for help when they need it. Their well being matters to us. Finally, I want students to communicate with each other with respect and understanding. We are proud to be a diverse and inclusive community and we shape our University together.”

So show your Golden Eagle pride by attending the Pokemon Go Health Walk on August 31 at 3:20, which starts by the Golden Eagle statue. VP Wada-Mckee and President Covino promise to be out there for support and so should you!

For more information, go to the Pokemon GO #MindMatters Health Walk Facebook page. See you there, trainers!

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