Through a passport-like booklet that challenges users to explore various things to do in Muncie after social distancing restrictions are lifted, students in the Well Connected immersive learning project are championing community health, engagement, and well-being.

“We want people to fall more in love with Muncie,” said Jane Ellery, faculty advisor of the project and assistant professor of Ball State’s workplace wellness minor. “This project strives for well-being in social, physical, community, and financial realms.”

Four College of Health students helped build the Muncie Challenge.

The booklet, which features 10 areas where one can experience Muncie, will be accompanied by a destination exploration app. The booklet and app will guide individuals as they tour destinations and contribute to making Muncie a great place to live, work, and learn. The challenge activities encompass dining, the entertainment and the arts, professional development and mentorship, outdoor beauty, and more.

A blue sky is reflecting in a lake

“There is so much more around us than we realize” said Abby Denham, an exercise science major and workplace wellness minor. “Through this project, we have uncovered a lot of hidden gems in Muncie that I didn’t know existed – like Madjax, Prairie Creek Reservoir (above), Minnetrista’s Farmers Market, and more.

“If we can change the way people think about getting involved, it could change their whole life. There are simple ways to make changes that can make a big impact — we just need to get people to realize it, give them the resources, and help them learn how to do it.”

The Muncie Challenge encourages users to discover and explore Muncie and to cultivate healthy habits. The higher the involvement in Muncie, the higher the score, which could land a spot on the app’s leaderboard.

The team hopes the challenge will enhance the work of the Delaware County Wellness Professionals, who support employee well-being. Neighborhood associations and students new to Ball State can also benefit, Ellery said.

Due to COVID-19, the students and their professor have communicated virtually with community members to test their prototype and hear new ideas. Earlier in the semester, students spent time at Madjax and in the Muncie community discovering new locations and interacting with community members.

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