Kinesiology 508 course helps Badgers practice giving back

August 22, 2017

A recent report from Andy Baggot of puts a spotlight on the service learning aspects of a class offered through the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology.

The course, “Kinesiology 508: Lifestyle Redesign and Health Promotion for College Students,” is led by Elizabeth Larson, an associate professor with the Department of Kinesiology’s Occupational Therapy Program.


Larson explains how students taking the class are taught that people who thrive tend to serve in their communities. In the summer, many of the students taking the class are incoming UW-Madison student-athletes. So Larson teams with the Badgers Give Back program -– the community outreach arm of the UW Athletic Department –- to teach about service learning opportunities available at the university and to provide service learning.Writes Baggot on “Learning how to make a difference in the world is part of the summer curriculum for incoming UW student-athletes. Service learning courses are offered for credit that include a volunteer or community engagement component such as a food pantry, senior center, youth camp or hospital.

“More than 40 academic departments at Wisconsin teach in excess of 100 service learning courses during the school year. These classes and labs — in this case, ‘Kinesiology 508, Lifestyle Redesign and Health Promotion for College Students’ — include at least 20 hours of service throughout the semester as part of the course requirement. Two credits are based on textbook work. Another comes from community projects.”

Larson notes how the Kinesiology 508 course focuses on the application of biological, cultural and social theory and research to lifestyle change. The transition to college requires students to construct a new lifestyle and take on new and greater personal responsibilities, while at the same time meeting rigorous academic challenges. This transition includes a loss of structured daily schedules, less family support for day-to-day living, and greater responsibility for personal finances and life choices.

Larson says that the students taking her Kinesiology 508 course complete a time diary, an analysis of their biological rhythms and a time budget to examine their lives. They then write a goal that they believe will improve the quality or balance in their life.

Badgers Give Back
The UW Athletic Department tweets about community
service efforts earlier this year conducted through its
Badgers Give Back program.

Baggot’s report explains how student-athletes from a range of Badgers sports teams helped out this summer at the American Family Children’s Hospital, the Neighborhood House (a local non-profit that provides programming for youth, adults and families who are looking to strengthen their community bond), and the Goodman Community Center’s food pantry, to name a few.Jason Dhooghe, a member of the Badgers men’s hockey team, told Baggot that visiting food pantries, nursing homes and hospitals is cherished by UW student-athletes.

“The community really supports us during the season, so since we’re not in the season, it’s a good chance to use some of our spare time to give back,” he said.

To learn more, check out Baggot’s entire article for free on this web page.