Physical change can lead to financial reward for students

YSU students break a sweat for a chance to earn a scholarship, through the 'Read. RECreate. Reward!' program. Photo by Aaron J. Frantz / Jambar Contributer

By Aaron J. Frantz

The “Read. RECreate. Reward!” scholarship is a 12-week long program offered by the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center that gives Youngstown State University students an opportunity to win a $1,000 reward.

Cameron Adams, assistant director of Operations and Guest Services, brought this idea with him during the spring 2020 semester after seeing the scholarship offered at another university. It was established with the intent to help students cultivate a healthy balance between physical activity and academics.

“The research is out there that says if you work out on a regular basis you’re going to do better in school, feel better and you’re going to lead a healthier lifestyle,” he said. 

Students applying for the RRR scholarship must work out a minimum of four times a week within the first 10 to 12 weeks of the semester. Applicants also will have to record a two-minute video discussing how much this scholarship has helped them, whether it is physically, mentally or academically, Adams said.

“We’ve had four winners so far in the last couple of semesters and that’s what they talk about in their videos. They say, ‘I feel better, I have done better in classes, I’m healthier and just better overall well-being,’” Adams said.

Maguire Franko, a junior finance major, was the winner of the scholarship last semester.

“The RRR scholarship definitely motivated me physically and obviously the mental and academic parts came with it. Scholarships are going to help academically with tuition and all that, but this scholarship in particular helped motivate all three of those aspects,” he said.

YSU uses a software called Fusion to monitor student applicants’ progression throughout the program. It allows the rec center to follow all applicants progress throughout the 12-week semester by either scanning in on the YSU App or swiping their Y Card.

“It tracks everything as they move throughout the program whether they are coming here to the building, whether they are going to club sport practice or showing up to intramurals or attending an Adventure Rec event,” Adams said.  

Xhandae Smith, a sophomore criminal justice major, is competing for the RRR scholarship this semester.

“I definitely would say just give it a shot. I am doing it for myself just for a challenge and also to kind of motivate myself. So if you’re looking for something to motivate you, I definitely would advise this scholarship,” she said.

Franko strongly recommends students apply for this scholarship and advises them to commit to the program.

“Just commit to them — it’s four days a week — it’s pretty achievable,” he said. “Continually show them your engagement and I think you have a good chance to win.”