Exercise is Medicine honors Mason for creating a well-being culture


George Mason University earned a silver-level designation from Exercise is Medicine-On Campus (EIM-OC) for its commitment to health and wellness.

people walking outside
The Mason community gathers for the annual Happy Heart Walk on the Fairfax Campus. Photo by Shelby Burgess/Strategic Communications

Mason is one of 156 universities and colleges around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine® for its efforts to create a well-being culture on campus. The silver rating highlights campuses that engage students, faculty, and staff in education initiatives and make movement part of the daily campus culture.

University-wide initiatives that contributed to the rating include the Mason Nation Thriving Together 5k, a Mason Exercise is Medicine Instagram account, and other activities including fitness webinars, bingo, and an exercise is medicine walk led by a health and fitness professional.

In summer 2021, Debra Stroiney, EIM-OC advisor in Mason’s School of Kinesiology, partnered with Becky Demus, assistant director of fitness at Mason Recreation, to form Mason’s first EIM-OC leadership team. The team includes faculty, staff, and students who want to help promote how exercise is in fact medicine. 

Demus said the team has formed strong partnerships across campus to help educate students on the importance of physical activity.

“We want to spread the word to the Mason community that exercise should be thought of as medicine, and that you can make exercise work for you—in a way that fits your schedule and is enjoyable,” Demus said.

One goal of the leadership team is to establish a health assessment program that will be accessible on all campuses, as well as a referral program with Student Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services.

“With this team we are working to increase the visibility of this important initiative on all campuses,” Stoiney said.

The program recognized 156 colleges and universities this year, with 73 earning gold, 50 earning silver, an 23 earning bronze recognition. All 156 will be recognized on June 1 as part of the 2022 Exercise is Medicine World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting.

“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and give students the tools to cultivate physical activity habits that will benefit them throughout their lives,” said Robyn Stuhr, vice president of Exercise is Medicine.

The American College of Sports Medicine co-launched Exercise is Medicine® in 2007 with the American Medical Association. EIM-OC, which launched in 2014, calls on universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health, and encourages faculty, staff, and students to work together to improve their campus community’s health and well-being.