Incoming freshman students will have to wear a Fitbit as part of the fitness curriculum at the Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma starting in 2016.
Fitbit devices are designed to monitor exercise, food calories burned, weight, sleep and the times in which such activities occur.
Students at ORU will be required to do 150 minutes of activity per week, and must take a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.
Fitbits not only track a user’s daily activity, but also have a built-in GPS system.
They can be worn as a bracelet, clipped to a pocket or a belt loop, or carried in your pocket.
ORU believes this is an innovative way to track levels of aerobic activity instead of having the students hand-write their daily activity, the prior tracking strategy.
One idea behind it is to avoid the ‘Freshman 15,’ an expression used when a freshman student gains roughly 15 pounds during their first year in college. Some students say the ‘Freshman 15’ is just a myth, but do agree that weight can be gained anytime, anywhere.
Wearing a Fitbit has never been a part of the traditional college experience, leading to mixed answers from students here at Fullerton.
“I would do it because I want my body and health to be better,” Alex Ceballos said.
Most of the students said once they start college, their focus is mainly on studying and adjusting to their new surroundings. They are too busy dealing with the stress of balancing newfound coursework and working. The focus is not necessarily on losing weight or eating better.
The Fitbit would serve as a reminder of the latter. Students could easily see what they can work on and make minor adjustments for a better body and mind.
Since Fitbits are not nearly as popular on campus as phones or laptops, some FC students were not aware of what a Fitbit is. Once explained, students agreed that the devices would definitely help improve a student’s overall health.
“It would make you aware of what you’re doing wrong and right,” Julio Castro said. “You might get the most out of your day if the Fitbit made you aware of your lack of sleep, or that you’re just being lazy.”
On the other hand, there are also negative thoughts on the possible requirement.
“I feel like it [Fitbit] would be invading my privacy, someone else seeing what I’m doing,” Alejandra Altaraz said. “It would make me feel uncomfortable, especially at a new school.”
Some students addressed feeling self-conscious if they were to start wearing a Fitbit.
“I’m already stressed out and underweight, I would love to gain 15 pounds,” Manuel de Anda said.
Students would not mind wearing the software if the Fitbits were provided to them free of charge and the requirement of activity is not too demanding.