Meet CHAARG, the fitness sorority taking over college campuses

Cheekies Team
Photo Cred: Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University, News @ Northeastern

Let's face it, it's a tough time to be a college student.

In a NIH-supported study, researchers found that 71% of the college students they studied indicated higher levels of stress and anxiety due to Covid. This comes at no surprise, as students are forced to adjust to Zoom classes, lockdowns, and canceled sporting events and social gatherings—all while doom scrolling through the pomp and glamour that is portrayed throughout social media today.

Enter CHAARG. At its core, CHAARG is an organization that's about women empowering women. While functioning like a sorority with its chapter-based and national leadership teams, it fosters sisterhood in a different kind of way—through a focus on self-care and group fitness.

We interviewed Avery Collard, a third-year student at Northeastern University and founder of the CHAARG @ NEU chapter, to learn more about this game changing organization and what it's all about.

So, what’s CHAARG?

Avery: "CHAARG" [pronounced "charge"] stands for "Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions to Recreate Girls", which is the name of our organization. CHAARG is a national organization of college students dedicated to empowering women through fitness.

There are 100+ chapters at different Universities across the country - including my chapter at Northeastern University! CHAARG at Northeastern is a group of 173 students who meet weekly events to workout, socialize + just hang out :) We work with fitness studios in Boston + across the country to bring a variety of workouts to our members so that they can find something that makes them happy + healthy.

Love the mission, “to liberate women from the elliptical.” Can you explain this a bit more?

Avery: This phrase represents the norm at most college gyms - the weight room is all men, and the women are stuck on the cardio machines. This is not to say that cardio machines are bad - we encourage and engage in all types of fitness!

CHAARG's mission is to provide a safe + supportive space for women to explore different types of fitness + find their fit, while building a supportive gym community.

What inspired you to start a new chapter?

Avery: I was a competitive swimmer + water polo player until college! When I got to college, I joined both club sports + a sorority, neither of which felt like the right fit.

I saw a Facebook post about CHAARG in 2019, and knew I had to get involved - it was a perfect intersection of all my interests and I was craving that type of community on campus. As a result, I founded Northeastern CHAARG's chapter in August 2019, and am now finishing up my second [+ last] term as Ambassador.

Fav workout song right now?

Avery: This is such a hard one! It changes weekly. Right now it's "Making History" by Aaron Cole!!

How have you stayed active, and continued to foster your sisterhood, throughout the pandemic?

Avery: The pandemic forced us to be creative with our programming, because of capacity limits on events and lack of in person programming.

My leadership team + I came up with creative ways to strengthen the community, hosting over 20 events per week! This gives members a variety of opportunities to get involved, as well as ensures we follow all pandemic safety guidelines.

We work with 2 studios a week in addition to holding 21 small groups, socials, workshops, and member groups. I'm able to interact with CHAARG members virtually + in person every week, and I feel very connected to the community. To check out what it looks like to be in CHAARG, check out #neuchaarg on instagram!

What impact are you hoping to accomplish through CHAARG?

Avery: I'm hoping that CHAARG helps other people find a way to love + celebrate their bodies through fitness. The whole point of CHAARG is to find ways to make yourself feel good - which can be really hard in college. I want CHAARG to continue to be a fun, safe, + supportive space to grow and find a community.

Finally, how can someone outside of CHAARG help support?

Avery: Empower + uplift women in your life!

+ Follow us on instagram @neu.inchaarg + @chaarg!

+ Support local fitness studios + instructors!

CHAARG relies on our partnerships with local studios + instructors to provide space for our organization - we would not be here without them! The pandemic has been devastating for smaller studios + fitness professionals, so if you have the means to support them, please do!

Thanks to Avery, the women of CHAARG, and Deb for the introduction.