by Rex Godinez Ortega
A SMALL band of faculty and staff members of the Institute is not allowing anything to get in the way of their goal of achieving that shapely figure while getting healthy at the same time.
Despite their busy schedules and demanding work, the determined group, led by College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) Assistant Dean Sasha Anne Lao Valdez, meets a couple of times a week at the School of Computer Studies rooftop to sweat it out in an hour or two of Zumba sessions.
“Sometimes we hold the Zumba sessions in empty classrooms in other colleges, depending on what’s available,” Valdez, who already lost 10 pounds, says.
She adds that the group is aiming to get more Institute constituents to join the afternoon dance exercise that is usually held on Wednesdays and Fridays around 4:00 to 5:30.
“Sometimes we start at 4:30 or 5:00 p.m. because our Zumba instructors would still be coming from previous engagements,” Valdez says.
Valdez and her companions started dancing in September when CSM Dean Prof. Mark Confesor proposed a wellness program for faculty and staff members of the college.
“It was really Dean Confessor who started it all with the active help of people from the Department of Physics like Prof. Rosario Reserva and Ms Sheila Gonzales,” Valdez reveals.
“From there we invited other departments and colleges through phone call and by word of mouth,” she adds.
Since September, however, the Zumba group’s membership remains pegged at 8 to 10 regulars, which at times swell to 20. It is mostly composed of female employees.
“Our biggest challenge at the moment is the class schedules of faculty members, although we have found that more seem available on Mondays,” Valdez says.
Despite the conflicting schedules of the Zumba enthusiasts, Valdez is optimistic that their number will eventually rise as “we know many in the campus are really interested”.
And to the skeptics who might view this renewed interest in physical fitness as just a passing fancy, Valdez announces that they are actually expanding into basketball and bowling very soon.
[Join Valdez and the rest of IIT’s Zumba crew every Monday 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday 4-5 p.m. at the SCS rooftop.]