With sweltering summer days thankfully gone, and winter’s chill not yet arrived, October on Penn’s campus provided some of the best outdoor days this year. To encourage Penn staff members to step out of the office and enjoy nature in the nice fall weather, Staff Eco-Reps organized a 30x30 Challenge. The idea was to spend 30 minutes outside every day for 30 days. The goals were broad: to increase participants’ level of physical activity by getting away from their desks, to improve feelings of well-being by spending some time outdoors, to spend some time with a coworker or two that did not involve a business meeting, and to encourage people to break some habits and try something new.
“While many of us have become very good in understanding sustainability, too often we get caught up in recycling paper and turning off lights, and forget that part of respecting the environment is appreciating it — feeling the sunshine, looking at the trees, maybe taking our exercise outdoors,” explained Andrea Kreiner, sustainability consultant for Penn’s Green Campus Partnership, as the inspiration for this activity.
More than 90 Penn employees participated in the 30x30 Challenge, with many people taking daily walks during the work day or finding pleasant green spaces outside to eat lunch. One participant greatly enjoyed the Challenge, commenting that during lunch time, “I had gotten into the habit of just sitting at my desk. Now I go for a walk, go outside and read, or just breathe some fresh air for an hour!”