Last Friday, Womxn’s Empowerment Training, or WET, teamed up with the Student Senate Women’s Affairs Commission to organize a fun and welcoming weightlifting contest to raise awareness for National Women’s Heart Day.
According to Go Red For Women, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. Since National Women’s Heart Day falls on the first Friday of February every year, the Women’s Affairs senator reached out to WET to put on a weightlifting competition and further the conversation on women’s heart health.
WET is an inclusive fitness organization for women to be able to work out in a non-judgmental environment. Madeline Crosby is a junior studying exercise physiology and the creative director of WET. She helped create WET last spring and is passionate about fitness in a safe space and learning from the other women in the club.
“We all have a lot in common and being healthy and going to the gym with these girls (is) inspiring,” Crosby said.
WET gladly accepted the collaboration with Student Senate because fitness is directly related to heart health and both organizations advocate for women’s rights.
“This is a way to get WET integrated with Student Senate,” Crosby said. “We wanted to branch out more so it’s not just the lifting community but we’re more involved with other organizations on campus now.”
The weightlifting competition Friday held 10 participants, including members of WET, women in the Student Senate and other OU students interested in weightlifting for a cause. The participants were judged based on the amount of weight they squatted and deadlifted combined, with each person getting two tries each for squatting and deadlifting.
One of the Student Senate participants was Reagan Farmer, a junior studying political science. Farmer is the Senate treasurer and is already interested in lifting and helping the other executive members find other organizations to integrate with to raise awareness for important causes.
“I thought (this event) would be perfect for me, I love lifting heavy things and supporting women’s issues,” Farmer said. “We try to find little days like that with niche holidays that we can do a collaboration event with other organizations.”
The environment of the contest was very encouraging, with cheering during and after each person’s lift. How much weight each person lifted varied, but no matter how much weight was on the bar, participants were motivating and inspiring each other, keeping the contest positive.
One of the participants was Elyse Hensley, a junior studying biological sciences. She found out about the event through Snapchat and commented on her excitement to compete while spreading awareness for women’s heart health.
“I’ve been lifting for six years and I’ve never had the opportunity to compete, but I’ve always wanted to,” Hensley said. “I also love the cause of supporting other women.”
At the end of the competition, there were medals for the second and third-place finishers and a trophy for the winner. Brianna Morgenstern placed third with a combined squat and deadlift of 380 pounds, Elyse Hensley placed second with a 230-pound squat and 275-pound deadlift and Reagan Farmer won the competition with a 350-pound squat and 365-pound deadlift.
No matter the outcome, WET’s inclusivity and weightlifting knowledge collaborated with Student Senate’s advocacy work to create a successful contest backed by the prevalent cause of women’s heart health.