CHAARG hopes to have approximately 150 members next semester.

A new club coming to JMU hopes to provide community and motivation for women trying to live a healthier lifestyle. CHAARG, which stands for “Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions to Recreate Girls” has over 60 chapters across the nation, and JMU will have its own next semester.

“How we’re different from other clubs is that we’re empowering you to be better for yourself and teaching you how to be comfortable,” Emma Coman, a junior health sciences major and event coordinator for CHAARG, said. “[In] other fitness clubs, you’re expected how to know things, where here, we’re going to teach you.”

The goal of the club is to help females find a model of fitness that works for them. It empowers women to be comfortable in the gym and try things that they might not have thought of doing before.

“CHAARG strives to create a community of girls with the same goals in life to push them to be their best selves,” Shannon Ward, a sophomore health sciences major and ambassador for CHAARG, said.

Ward has been in charge of starting this chapter at JMU. She wanted to start it at JMU ever since she heard her sister was involved at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

“I thought ‘OMG, that’s an amazing club, and I wish we had that at JMU,’” Ward said. “I think it’s something that every college girl should have access to.”

The club plans to hold weekly meetings for all the members next year. There will also be small groups that meet on their own schedule, which are created for girls to get to know each other even better in a smaller setting.

Virginia Tech and U.Va. both have active CHAARG chapters. Ward said that she hopes to collaborate with both groups next year.  

“I think we’re looking for girls who either have already began their fitness journey on their own or girls who are interested in beginning their fitness journey,” Solanna Byrd, a sophomore communication science and disorders major and event coordinator for CHAARG, said. “If you’re intimidated by the gym or you haven’t found something that you love there yet, but you want to be active, we’re helping people find their fit in the gym.”

CHAARG hopes to have approximately 150 members next semester. They’re accepting anybody interested in their mission.

Brittany Gaughan, a freshmen hospitality major and secretary for CHAARG, followed the CHAARG Instagram page. When she saw a post about new chapters and saw JMU on the list, she was thrilled.

“I want people to know that they have good friends who will push them to be better,” Gaughan said. “I like going to the gym, but sometimes I need the motivation to go. This club will make me a better workout person.”

The executive members of CHAARG are looking forward to their first semester as a club. For them, it’s all about getting people involved and excited about living a healthier life.

“If they’re starting their fitness journey, and maybe they’re a little nervous and intimidated, we can guide them and other girls can motivate them to be their best selves,” Ward said.

Contact Matthew Sasser at For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.

Matthew Sasser is a sophomore writing, rhetoric, and technical communication major. Beyond writing, he enjoys skateboarding, playing bass guitar, ultimate frisbee and is an avid Taco Bell enthusiast.