Warrior Hibernation challenge rebrands for spring semester

Mitchell Prosser, News Reporter

Winona State University’s Great Warrior Hibernation challenge has rebranded for the spring semester, with the incentive of getting students out and active during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Katie Jensen, Health and Wellness promotion coordinator, said the goal of the challenge is to keep students engaged with different COVID safty protocols out in the community, not just during Zoom classes.
“We acknowledge the fact that many students are experiencing this Zoom fatigue [and] we really want to make sure they have the opportunity to socialize in a safe way,” Jensen said. “We have different student activities like going outside and getting exercise; These are crucial for students and their mental health during these times.”
Alice Baged, a graduate assistant in the Health and Wellness promotion department, took charge with getting the challenge up and running.
“With the pandemic, we really wanted to tailor this program to COVID oriented things,” Baged said. “We did a total rebrand with this program for spring 2021.”
Before the 2021 spring semester, the program was called the Got Health and Happiness Wellness challenge, Jensen said.
“In late 2018, early 2019, we received a grant from the state department. Part of this grant was we were required to create a health and wellness challenge that was goal oriented,” Jensen said.
Jensen said that program did not get the amount of reach or engagement they seeked from students, so the promotion team knew they needed a refresh.
“We turned this original project into now what we have, the Warrior Hibernation. We turned it into COVID bingo!” Baged said. “We did a round in January to entice students to be safe and also promote health and wellness around campus.”
The promotion team also promoted “health mitigation efforts that were fun and engaging for students,” according to Baged.
“We did a very light version of this challenge in February, to test and work out the kinks in the system,” Baged said. “We now are gearing up for the month of March, with our largest challenge yet.”
Baged said the Warrior Hibernation challenge will be five weeks long and will aim to encourage students to be active, with the possibility of a grand prize at the end of the month.
Regarding how the challenge will connect to the campus community, Baged said, “We really try, and almost focus on, tying in events that are going on around our campus community. If students participate in these events and are able to stay safe, they can earn points [toward the challenge]!”
Jensen said the promotion team wanted to get students excited about coming back to campus this spring, even in the midst of the pandemic.
“We would like to believe that we are playing in a role in helping students stay safe on campus and all around our community,” Jensen said. “Students knew they were going to be in this modified quarantine situation and we wanted to get them excited to come back.”
Baged also said she believes the program will help with students struggling with their mental health during COVID.
“Students are facing a roadblock. We need to help these students and by creating this program, we are giving these students new ideas of new things to do, as well as things they can do to help their mental health,” Baged said.
The Warrior Hibernation challenge will take place the entire month of March on all of the Health and Wellness social media pages.