Feb 8th, 2016, 06:34 PM

US Christian College is Strapping Freshmen to Fitbits

By Eva Gudnason
Image source: Youtube/Argos
Is it caring or stalking?

As of Fall 2015, the Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma is requiring all their freshmen students to track their daily fitness routine with a Fitbit.

However, for the current students, this isn't news. Previously, the university required all of its students to record their movements manually. This is due to the university offering "one of the most unique educational approaches in the world by focusing on the Whole Person - mind, body, and spirit" ORU president, William M. Wilson states.

They're just getting an upgrade. 

The ORU first year students have to achieve 10,000 steps each day to try and avoid gaining the Freshman 15 (which is now debunked as a myth.)  What's even more unfortunate, is that the students have to pay for the Fitbits, a simple physical activity bracelet that tracks your movement and sleep and wirelessly uploads all the data online. And it's not cheap either, around $130 depending on the model.  Since all the data is stored on the "cloud", both the teachers and the university can see progress and it will result in a grade. Data is even recorded when students are on breaks (abroad). You can't escape. 

Despite having the right intentions to making students maintain a healthy lifestyle, for many, this notion is coming across a little differently, particularly on the issue of freedom and privacy. Which begs the question: Where does one draw the line?

Although it is their duty as a university to be responsible for each student, this might be beyond normal. One of the great aspects of attending college is letting loose, in whatever context that may be, then later figuring out what works for you and what doesn't. I feel that a part of this mandatory fitness regime is restricting that. Students should have the freedom and privacy to party all night or be lazy by ordering a pizza to your room and skipping the gym the next day. What about intimate extracurricular activities?  

Even though the Fitbit only tracks how many miles you are getting, there's that overarching fear that all eyes are on you (24/7 in fact). And it isn't right. Certain students sare adapting well like Eden Watson, who told Tulsa World, that the Fitbit "keeps [her] healthier and happier, and keeps [her] accountable... it keeps [her] motivated to exercise more." For those who don't have a past active lifestyle and are having more trouble, Watson does add that "some students who have never worked out can feel overwhelmed having to work out as part of their grade." What would the university do if some students started having anxiety over it, worsening their "mind" in their "mind, body, and spirit" core values? Is ORU more concentrated on the fitness aspect setting them apart in the world, that they neglect its other values?



Via: TulsaWorld

Source: ORU