At a campus as large as UT, opportunities to exercise are all around. From Gregory Gym to SoulCycle, students are constantly seeking out new ways to move their bodies. National organization CHAARG aims to broaden those opportunities even further and encourage students to take advantage of them.
Changing Health, Attitudes, + Actions to Recreate Girls, or CHAARG, strives to unite girls and encourage more inclusive, diverse workouts. The organization has chapters at over 60 universities in the United States, and until recently, UT was not one of them.
French and studio art sophomore Annie Durbaca said she discovered CHAARG through a post on the UT 2023 Facebook page in June. She was then inspired to start a chapter at UT.
“There is a stigma that health is so hard — to be healthy or to eat healthly,” Durbaca said. “A lot of times I feel like, as students, we want to study and work hard, and we are really forgetting to move.”
CHAARG founder Elisabeth Tavierne created the group to encourage women to broaden their fitness routine and form a community of strong women who help each other find the exercises that are right for them.
“It’s not that everyone needs to do weights or do a certain routine,” Durbaca said. “There’s something that I’m sure everyone would enjoy.”
Interpersonal communications sophomore Nola Carmouche said she is eager to join CHAARG on campus.
“(CHAARG) will provide a safe space for girls at UT to experiment with different workout styles that they might not try on their own,” Carmouche said.
Carmouche believes that healthy living does not have one form, but “looks different for everyone.”
Exercise and mental health are top priorities for many college students, including health and society sophomore Alexandra Calve.
“Staying fit, both mentally and physically, improves your mind, keeps you productive and overall just makes you feel good,” Calve said.
In addition to creating a support system of strong women on campus, the wide-ranging benefits of broader workouts served as a persuading ingredient in Durbaca’s journey to bring CHAARG to campus.
“It’s all about just finding your fitness fit, engaging in the community of girls and just supporting each other,” Durbaca said.
Calve said she is interested in utilizing CHAARG to help fellow UT women.
“I hope to join CHAARG so that I can maintain my physical health and help others on their fitness journeys,” Calve said. “I want to help ease the anxiety that comes with new athletes.”
With a different approach, Carmouche hopes CHAARG will bring her a community with similar goals.
“What I really want to gain from it is getting to know a group of girls who have the same fitness mindset as me,” Carmouche said.
Durbaca has similar hopes for CHAARG as an organization and the long term effects it will have on the UT community.
“I want everyone to have a good physical health, mental health and emotional health,” Durbaca said. “Through CHAARG, I really want to positively impact girls and bring them to know that there are other girls supporting them.”