Southeast’s Dept. of Health, Human Performance and Recreation Sponsoring International Walk to School Day

iwalkCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 2, 2014 – The Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at Southeast Missouri State University, in cooperation with the PTA of Alma Schrader Elementary School, is organizing and sponsoring International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 8.

Alma Schrader Elementary School in Cape Girardeau will be joining schools from around the world to promote health through physical activity, safety and concern for the environment by walking to school.

Dennis Scivally Park will be the gathering point for all walkers interested in participating. Walkers are encouraged to arrive beginning at 7:30 a.m. School staff, PTA members and others will be present as people arrive and gather. A police officer will also be present and will assist in traffic control. Walkers will leave the park at 7:45 a.m. and walk to Alma Schrader School on the sidewalks along Masters Drive and Randol Avenue. The group will arrive at school around 8 a.m.

“This event is a great way to emphasize the healthy aspects of walking to school and highlight ways to help make walking more attractive as a way to get to school,” said Mark Langenfeld, professor of exercise science at Southeast.

Langenfeld teaches in Southeast’s Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, which offers programs such as health management, physical education, recreation, athletic training and sport management — all of which emphasize and promote active lifestyles.

“This one day event prompted the launch of our Walking School Bus program, which gives students a chance to walk to schools each week,” he said.

University faculty and students from the department will be at the park and participating in the walk. Students are being encouraged to walk to school on International Walk to School Day with teachers, parents, grandparents and other community members who wish to participate.

Langenfeld made a presentation in July, 2010 at the International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm, Sweden, telling about the successes of the local event and the Walking School Bus Movement.

“It was wonderful to be able to highlight our Cape Schools and Cape Girardeau at an international forum,” said Langenfeld. “Promoting walking to school is one worthy strategy to help increase the levels of physical activity among our children. And they love walking! It is loads of fun.”

The inaugural event in 2005 highlighted the lack of sidewalks near the school.  Today there are neighborhood sidewalks along the school’s property and along primary approach streets.  The City’s response in building sidewalks is part of a larger goal of fostering Safe Routes To School as well as enhancing the walkability of the entire neighborhood.

Now in its 17th year, International Walk to School Day will have participants in all 50 states and over 40 countries around the world. The Oct. 8 event is one component of International Walk to School Month being celebrated worldwide.

For additional information, please contact Mark Langenfeld at (573) 651-2461. Ruth Ann Orr, principal of Alma Schrader Elementary School, can also answer questions related to the event at (573) 335-5310.