On a sunny afternoon at Blue Owl Coffee, I had the pleasure of interviewing the wonderful women who are currently running the MSU CHAARG chapter for the 2021 – 2022 school year.
We talked about their experience in the chapter, how they have grown as a person thanks to CHAARG, and the future of the chapter as it gets close to 10 years.
What is MSU CHAARG?
MSU CHAARG is an organization that is empowering women through collaborating with studio workouts. It offers women the chance to step out of their comfort zone and find a safe place to workout with their fellow members. The chapter personally offers mental health and nutrition resources as well as counseling to ensure women are not alone. MSU CHAARG promotes confidence, bravery, and self-love.
MEET THE six WOMEN WHO ARE A PART OF MSU CHAARG EXEC. TEAM
• Position: VP Media
• Role: Social media manager, chapter photographer, chapter graphics manager, and small
• Fun Fact: Never learned how to swim.
• Position: Secretary
• Role: Manages team organization, manages attendance + analytics, and small group
• Fun Fact: Allergic to some random fruits.
Olivia “Liv” Antal
• Position: Event Coordinator
• Role: Plans weekly workouts, promotes weekly workouts, and small group coordinator
• Fun Fact: I speak German.
• Position: Event Coordinator
• Role: Plans weekly workouts, promotes weekly workouts, and small group coordinator
• Fun Fact: Sleep talks all the time.
• Position: VP Membership
• Role: Leads recruitment + retention, leads member engagement, organizes small groups, and small group coordinator
• Fun Fact: I have lived in three states and two countries.
• Position: Treasurer
• Role: Plans + leads chapter socials, manages Chapter budget, and small group coordinator
• Fun Fact: I am from New York.
1. How did you end up being a part of CHAARG?
Anna Blasy: Found out about CHAARG my freshman year and my roommate at the time (we went to high school together). Roommate found out about CHAARG through Facebook and ended up going to the workouts. Really liked it so I stuck with it.
Ellia Flejtuch: Mom found CHAARG through the MSU CHAARG Facebook page. Mom told me about the organization and I became interested. Put my email down, went to the first weekly workout, and it was a done deal.
Susan Carman: Saw it on Facebook and dragged my two friends with me. Then I became a Small Group Coordinator (SGC) and applied for Exec. The rest is history…
Olivia “Liv” Antal: My roommate and I went to the CHAARG info session my freshmen year. My roommate didn’t join and I didn’t either. Then halfway through the semester, I wanted to get involved in something so I joined. I came to my first workout and made a friend. I really liked it, so I stuck with it. It felt like a supportive environment, which is why I kept going back.
Pearl Kurian: My freshman year, my roommate saw the link for a free workout. My roommate and I went to the workout and loved it. Next year, I got involved in the membership committee and bolt fam. I fell in love with it and didn’t want to leave.
Kelsie Gorman: My suitemate freshman year was in CHAARG and she was very active in the chapter. Second semester she convinced me to go to a free workout. I loved it! Bought a membership and we happened to be in the same small group. Went on committees the same year.
2. How do you expect to take the experiences you gained from CHAARG and bring them forth to your future endeavors (grad school, professional school, careers, etc.)?
Olivia “Liv” Antal: Being on exec., the leadership skills is a given at this point. Knowing how to plan, knowing how to present yourself, and balance professionalism. Still being involved in everything. Specifically learning how to cultivate a really uplifting and supportive environment, no matter where you are. Being a part of that and learning those skills – of how to cultivate that – is a unique skill we all have. Something that a lot of people get in their leadership experience.
Ellia Flejtuch: Being treasurer and planning those events. Forming connections to establish where the events are going to be located. Example, retreat is a connection or formal at the Graduate is a connection. Forming those connections and making sure the organization is known. Hopefully when I am an Occupational Therapist (OT) forming those relationships with different people and where I can take those connections.
Everyone: Leadership skills, etc.
3. Why did you get involved in CHAARG?
Pearl Kurian: I joined to stay active and find an organization with good people. Obviously this is one of the best organizations. Everyone is loved, has positive energy, and is uplifting. The reason I wanted to apply for Exec. is because of what the organization stands for and I wanted to be more involved.
Everyone: Agreed with Pearl’s statement.
4. What moment or memory sticks out to you the most from your time with CHAARG?
Anna Blasy: Spartication. That was the first time as a group and being together as a team. Share our love for CHAARG and bond with other people. Try to recruit other people we meet and try to convince them to join. It was a lot of fun.
Olivia “Liv” Antal: It was also fun for that event to approach other people about CHAARG. It was so fun and really rewarding. First time sharing CHAARG with other people and being really excited about it.
Susan Carman: People will recognize me when I am out. “You are Susan from CHAARG.” Susan from CHAARG is a positive thing to be recognized for and knowing what I am from. If they didn’t like CHAARG, or didn’t like our organization, they wouldn’t be coming up to us. People are comfortable to come up to us and say “OMG you are from CHAARG.” Like “Hey, how are you?” Especially in social settings, girls coming up to you is scary, but knowing they recognize me in a positive way is impactful.
Olivia “Liv” Antal (cont’d): Especially how big our organization is. The fact they all feel comfortable recognizing us and talking to us says a lot!
5. What is your individual goal for the chapter?
Ellia Flejtuch: To spread the message. Give the members the best experience possible. At the end of the day, we have all got a lot out of CHAARG and we want to give that same experience to our members – even more than we had!
Kelsie Gorman: We are not going to be here forever, which is really sad. But I would love to see CHAARG go on past us and love to see it get biggerand do more great stuff.
Ellia Flejtuch (cont’d): Starting traditions. I hope the Bolt compliments are a tradition. Want to leave a mark on the chapter. In such a positive way. Even yesterday at the retreat, we were talking about old Exec members. Leaving that mark and knowing that you did good things. Giving those people those positive memories to look back on.
6. Would you ever hope for an Exec. reunion?
Everyone: YES! All the time.
7. If you could improve CHAARG, what would you do and why?
Susan Carman: We could use a lot more diversity. We have the same face and we try to recruit more members. We try to provide a safe space, but we just don’t get that diversity factor. We could try to work on that. We’re definitely not an exclusive group, but it is hard to get those numbers and see different faces. However, it is hard to get into those different groups.
Anna Blasy: I agree! Especially when it has already been established, as like what CHAARG is. Trying to get new people is really kind of a struggle, but it can be done.
Pearl Kurian: We have a diversity and inclusion committee, but that is something we want to implement more next year. We can attract interest and knowledge about CHAARG by reaching out to more people, even if they don’t join. Reaching out to more girls and getting more divergent.
Susan Carman (cont’d): Having diversity and inclusion leaders with all different body types, which showcases a whole range of things. That is somewhere we can start with the club. Making sure our communities and Exec. board is more diverse. See what we have in the club and get the real diversity that we want.
8. What’s the biggest misconception people make when they think of CHAARG?
Everyone: That it is a cult or a sorority. It is different.
Susan Carman: Nothing against sororities, that is just not the vibe.
Olivia “Liv” Antal: I wouldn’t say it is the better version of a sorority, butut that it’s different. I think that because our chapter is so large, it gets mistaken like that. It is a huge group of girls. There are a few CHAARG houses or CHAARG roommates. I feel like it is its own entity.
9. Why should people join CHAARG? Or still commit to CHAARG?
Anna Blasy: For the community; it is a safe space. You can find a lot of genuine people, who have the same interest as you. CHAARG has given me so much in terms of relationships and friendships. But it is a healthy environment that advocates for mental health and healthy body image, which a lot of girls struggle with nowadays, especially with social media. There are people that are just like me out there.
10. Is that how you would like to use the resources that CHAARG has given you? To create a positive space? Do you plan on counting partnerships with organizations like SEBA to help women?
Olivia “Liv” Antal: We have a workout with SEBA later this semester.
11. How have you grown through CHAARG? Progression from freshman to senior year…
Everyone: Oh, yeah!
Olivia “Liv” Antal: Our confidence has sky-rocketed just from being in CHAARG. My thought process and mentally I am a lot healthier because of the environment I am surrounded in. Worlds of difference between my freshman year, before CHAARG and now.
Anna Blasy: I was coming into MSU. I didn’t have any friends and didn’t know what to do. CHAARG gave me friends and a pathway. I am a super out-going and chatty person, and CHAARG gave me a reason to be. To just be myself and that is why I stuck with it is because I feel so comfortable in my own skin.
Ellia Flejtuch: Seeing everything we have done from freshman year. I personally know that I can do it because I have done it. I think that is something that we can all say.
12. Do you think you would be the person you are today if it wasn’t for CHAARG?
Everyone: Definitely not.
Anna Blasy: My college experience would be totally different. I don’t know how, but I know that it would be. Without CHAARG, it wouldn’t have been so good.
13. What is the biggest lesson you have learned from CHAARG?
Ellia Flejtuch: The biggest lesson for me is “it’s okay to ask for help.” I am my mom’s daughter. “You can do everything and you don’t have to rely on anyone.” Definitely had that mindset and I have put so much pressure on myself. Being on the Exec. and leading social committee, I have had to learn that I can not do everything. I have to ask for help and that is something I will continue to do. Improving my leadership style.
14. How would you like members to look-up to exec. (ex. mentor or friend)?
Anna Blasy: When I was a younger member, I thought the Exec. was so cool. I think that we are just naturally mentors and role models. I personally like to lead because everyone sees me as a friend and someone that they can come talk to. I want to be approachable. I don’t want anyone to fear me or us. Lead by example and welcoming people with open arms.
Olivia “Liv” Antal: Like an older sister. Very comfortable and come to us with anything; ask us about the resources and personal questions. Getting younger members to apply for Exec. Having a very comfortable relationship with them, but still giving them the ability to look up to us and ask for help.
Susan Carman: I agree. For example with my older sister, I respect her and can tell her about my worst days or my best days. I can talk to her about my problems, such as boy problems or real-life, like applying to grad school.
15. What’s the most beneficial part about CHAARG?
Susan Carman: Have the same activities and major. But we are all super different. For example Ellia and I are both applying for OT school. We have different majors and we do different things, but we have different friends outside of CHAARG. Like we all learn a lot from each other. All our “WHY I CHAARG” stories might start the same, but what we got out of it or why we do it is different for everyone. There are 300 people and they all have a different “WHY I CHAARG” story.
Everyone: Perfect and well said.
16. What is ONE word to describe CHAARG?
Susan Carman: Impactful.
Pearl Kurian: Community.
Olivia “Liv” Antal: Supportive.
Kelsie Gorman: Strong.
Anna Blasy: Healthy or Therapy.
Ellia Flejtuch: Free.
17. How would you like to leave the chapter?
Anna Blasy: See a lot more tradition within CHAARG. That would be really cool because traditions bring people closer together. Get to know people better that way. Just a special thing that if it started now and to see it blossom. I reached out to this one girl who is afraid of public speaking but recently faced her fear.
Susan Carman: Bolt compliments. Making an impact. I am a very out-going person and want to encourage people that no matter your leadership style (if you are quiet or out-going), you can be on Exec. Work towards it and improve my leadership skills. Doing handwritten notes.
Olivia “Liv” Antal: Reaching out to members and having them tell us their story about their first time in CHAARG and making an impact.
Anna Blasy (cont’d): Ieached out to this one girl who is afraid of public speaking but recently she faced her fear. I texted her yesterday and I said that I was so proud of her. She responded, saying: “It means more to me then you know.” Seeing the girls grow in their own ways and individually listening to them and reaching out to them. A simple compliment because a little way goes a long way.
Pearl Kurian: I am a really quiet person. Being a part of CHAARG can be intimidating because of the amount of people. I didn’t know anyone going into it. Just being comfortable with 300 people feels amazing and just stepping up as a leader. I want to show people that you can be quiet and still be outgoing and confident. That is an impact I want to make with being on Exec.
Thank you to the wonderful ladies from the CHAARG Exec. team for letting me interview you. I hope this interview was just as impactful as the organization you represent.
“As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other’s worth. Seek out strong women to befriend, to align yourself with, to learn from, to collaborate with, to be inspired by, to support, and enlightened by.”
For more information about MSU CHAARG, click here.