The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 8th

Fitness requirement is an essential part of education


I must respectfully disagree with Olivia Blanchard’s Feb. 4 column “Just focus on mind exercise, UNC.”

First, though any requirement may be onerous, lifetime fitness’s demand on our schedules — a one-credit-hour class — is minimal.

Second, the assumption that everyone has access to information regarding how to maintain their health prior to attending the University is dubious. And third, the role of a liberal arts education should not be to educate us about our areas of interest alone.

In deciding to attend UNC, we agreed to engage in a curriculum that is intended to immerse all of us, regardless of background in the curriculum’s subjects, in approaches to effective and appropriate public and private citizenry.

The ideal liberal arts education provides access to a better life than one likely would have journeyed on alone. It therefore would include exposure to more concepts, theories and practices than one would likely encounter without it. For many, a physical fitness course actually does fit within that scheme.

Additionally, physical vigor and the knowledge of how to take care of one’s body vitally contribute to the successful functioning of our hearts and minds.

That said, we cannot and should not be compelled to take courses that do not further our ability to be effective, engaged citizens, and we should scrutinize our new general education curriculum for that reason, if no other.

If you’ve learned absolutely nothing from your course, it shows in practice something needs to change. But a liberal arts education, in theory, should have a lifetime fitness requirement.

Elinor Benami
Economics, Environmental Studies


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