Left to fend for themselves for the first time, many college freshmen binge on junk food, fall behind on laundry and forget to study.
One Oklahoma college, however, is making sure they don't lose track of their fitness.
This past fall, Oral Roberts University in Tulsa began requiring freshmen to wear Fitbits to monitor their activity. The Christian institution—which focuses on mind, body and spirit—has long required students to track their activity manually. Now, however, the sleek, electronic bracelets automatically monitor stats such as heart rate and steps walked and then send the results to faculty.
Activity recorded by Fitbits constitutes 20% of students' grades in their required physical fitness courses, Provost Kathaleen Reid-Martinez said.
Freshman Christian Monsalve, 17, said health and fitness have long been important to him. When he was younger, he was overweight. But he dropped 25 pounds several years ago by eating healthier and exercising more.
His black Fitbit, which adorns his left wrist, has helped him boost his workouts. He's now running and swimming more, and focusing on measuring his heart rate while in motion and at rest.
The Fitbits have gotten some mixed reviews from students, he said, but most students are enthusiastic about them. Students buy the Fitbits just as they purchase textbooks and other class materials.
“It makes them more conscious about how they need to go to the gym more, or maybe even get out more and walk around,” he said.
The devices, however, do not do laundry.