Author: Elise Betz
Imagine thirty stationary exercise bikes lined up inside a health club studio. “Riders” are on each bike, spinning the pedals as fast as they can. The lights are turned down, loud, pumping music fills the air and an instructor with a headset sits atop a lead bike, and is barking out commands.
“Climb out of the saddle,” she barks at the class. “Big hill coming! This is a big, steep climb – about 7 ½ minutes. Grind it out!” The riders rise as one, pedals spinning harder as we grimace with exertion, sweat dripping off our bodies to the deep, bass beats of the Beatles “Come Together.” A fifteen second recovery is next as we all gulp down liquids from the water bottle we are required to have on our bikes. We then get back into the saddle for a 4 minute sprint to The Jackson Five’s “Dancing Machine.”
What I am describing to you is a spinning class. What does this have to do with my role as Executive Director of Alumni Relations at Penn? Everything! While I am spinning my wheels, my mind is just as active spinning with thoughts. I get some of my best work done on that bike!
Sitting on that spin bike, I have thought through the process of launching our new Shared Interest Group initiative – groups of alumni who share common interests arising from their Penn co-curricular activities or professional career experience and desire to affiliate with each other as a subgroup of Penn Alumni. Look for it in the fall!
I have imagined and executed in my mind new events for students as part of our “Penn Traditions: Building Our Community” program designed to keep our students connected to Penn for their lifetime. Last night, I spent my 60 spin minutes willing it to be 74 degrees and sunny from Alumni Weekend Friday through Monday’s Commencement ceremony. Alumni Weekend 2011 is going to be the best ever! You see – I am doing very important things on that bike. So, you will have me to (at least partially) thank for the glorious next few days just ahead! One final thought. . .
Ben Franklin couldn’t have said it better.