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Dentistry walkers add to U-M total for Rivals Challenge

Patient Services staffer Mary Bennett becomes a photo while taking a photo of peonies in The Arb.

Dean Laurie McCauley (center) leads a dentistry delegation through The Arb during a walk as part of the Rivals Challenge fitness competition.  Walking with McCauley are Sarah Volk (left), a research lab tech in Periodontics & Oral Medicine and MHealthy champion, and Mary Garrelts, dental care manager in patient services.

Valentina Godovikova, a research lab specialist in Biologic and Materials Sciences, finds a peony to photograph.

Walkers pose for a group photo before their trek to the Arb.


Dean Laurie McCauley had some U-M spring in her step with these maize-and-blue high-top sneakers.

Noontime trip to the Arb peony garden exercises Ohio State rivalry

Ann Arbor, Mich., June 8, 2016 – Staff from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry on Tuesday found a beautiful way to challenge Ohio State.

About 30 people joined Dean Laurie McCauley for a lunchtime stroll from the school to the historic peony garden in full bloom in Nichols Arboretum.  The group joined the usual mid-day crowd of flower-lovers wandering among the 270 varieties of the fragrant blooms in colors ranging from white to pink to deep red.

The minutes logged by participants walking from the school to The Arb and back contribute to U-M's total in the Rivals Challenge, an eight-week exercise competition between employees of the two universities.  The challenge is coordinated by the U-M Human Resources Department as a wellness program.  McCauley was one of several campus leaders recruited to lead walks over the last several weeks as a way to keep the U-M exercise minutes on the increase. Most of those who joined her Tuesday were School of Dentistry staff, with a few from other campus units.

Leading a competition against Ohio State is a challenge for McCauley, who is an OSU alum, but her footwear Tuesday was all U-M -- a pair of maize-and-blue, high-topped canvas sneakers adorned with a Block-M. She explained her views on the importance of exercise and the rivalry with OSU in an interview on the Human Resources website.

The Rivals Challenge began on May 2 and continues through June 26. Participants log their exercise minutes in an online tracker using a computer, smartphone, tablet, text message or Fitbit device. The winning university, based on the highest average daily minutes per participant, will be announced at an event July 8 at the Michigan Union.  Participants can win prizes, including maize-and-blue sneakers like McCauley wore Tuesday.  More info is available through Human Resources.