Fit For You: Milwaukee University Leaders Test Their Fitness

Mar 26, 2018

College students can have a lot of stressors in their lives: school work, jobs, tuition... just to name a few. All these can take quite a toll on one's physical and mental health.

One way Lake Effect producer Audrey Nowakowski and former education reporter Rachel Morello like to relieve stress is through exercise. They've noticed that two Milwaukee university leaders - Marquette University President Michael Lovell and UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone - are also big fitness advocates.

So, WUWM decided to put them to the test - a physical fitness test.

Marquette's Wednesday sled pull workout in the Al McGuire Center.
Credit Rachel Morello/Michelle Maternowski

We start off by visiting Marquette Unveristy to talk with President Lovell about the important role fitness plays on campus.  

“You think about health – it’s all aspects. I think physical health is an important part of mental health and reducing your stress," he says. "I think self care is extremely important and I always tell students you have to take time for self care, it's really important for your long-term health and your well being, and you'll be more successful if you take time to do it."

So how has fitness become an essential part of Lovell’s life as a school leader? He notes it’s all about making connections.

Former WUWM education reporter Rachel Morello with Marquette University president Mike Lovell.
Credit Audrey Nowakowski

“I purposely try to exercise during the day - sometimes so people know it’s ok to take the time out during your day to exercise, for both the students, faculty, and staff. I can be kind of a role model in helping them," Lovell explains. "The students are busy, but I think it’s important for them to understand that this should be an essential part of their life, whether it be yoga, mindfulness, whatever helps them reduce the stress and anxiety in their lives."

Lovell says his ultimate goal in connecting with students through fitness and recreation goes far beyond the physical benefits, exercising with Marquette's community allows him to interact with people on campus he normally wouldn't get to talk to.

Student Jude Mariutto (left) and Mark Mone hold planks in the chancellor's office for their bonus exercise.
Credit Audrey Nowakowski

Over at UW-Milwaukee, Chancellor Mark Mone says he understands the pressures student face, and attests to the importance of balance. “We all face different challenges, and I think in leadership - especially senior leadership positions - you need to have ways to relieve pressure," he says. "And I learned years ago...that you’re up to two times more productive if you exercise...and it's a lot more fun."

Student Jude Mariutto with Chancellor Mark Mone.
Credit Audrey Nowakowski

Mone says he likes to incorporate fitness in his own life - whether it is biking to work or participating in activities with students. He says, not only is it good for his health, but it’s a useful tool for building campus relationships and serving as a model for others.

“Historically I’ve always thought about this in many leadership that roles I’ve had..., any particular type of physical activity is important in part for health, but also comradery, building collegiality, building opportunities for people to interact socially. There's so many tremendous benefits and I've been fortunate to be able to experience those and try to serve as a model to bring others along."

Marquette, UWM & WUWM Test Their Limits

Now that we have an understanding of their fitness philosophies, let's get to the challenge.

Team Marquette consists of President Lovell and senior Daniel Madhavapallil. Chancellor Mone and architecture major Jude Mariutto make up Team UW-Milwaukee, and former education reporter Rachel Morello and Lake Effect's Audrey Nowakowski are representing Team WUWM.

Imagine the Presidential Fitness Test, which is most common in grade schools. Our general fitness includes exercises that require only a participant's body weight:

  1. Sit ups (1 minute)
  2. Push ups (without stopping, no time limit)
  3. Wall sit (hold position for as long as possible)

So, how did they do?

Points are based on the scoring system used by the FBI Physical Fitness Test Protocol.
Credit Audrey Nowakowski

All teams made valiant efforts, but only one can win the challenge.

With a total of 22 cumulative points in sit ups, pushups, and wall sits, Team Marquette ended up being the most presidential. Congratulations!

Audrey Nowakowski (left) and Rachel Morello complete their fitness test in the WUWM conference room.
Credit Teran Powell