The Quokka Challenge at Rice

There is a multiplicity of ways for all Rice students to immerse themselves in the exciting and thriving Rice community. This can range from joining committees at their residential colleges to joining Intramural or Club sports teams to becoming a member of any club which suits their interests. One club that I joined is the Rice Alliance for Mental Health Awareness, which is better known as RAMHA. The mission of RAMHA is to “reduce the stigma surrounding mental health disorders” by encouraging all members of the Rice community to openly discuss mental health and to take care of their own. RAMHA hosts various events throughout the year, including Body Positivity Week and the Quokka Challenge.

The Quokka Challenge is an eight week-long program that various universities across the country, such as Georgetown, Princeton, and The Ohio State University, participate in. Each week, participants are encouraged to engage in a particular healthy behavior or habit that has been empirically proven to boost one’s well-being. Some of the challenges this year include exercise, good deeds, journaling, and giving thanks. At the end of each week, participants can choose to answer a few questions about that week’s challenge online and can even win a prize, like a gift card to a local restaurant or a stress ball. At Rice, the residential college that has the most students taking part in the challenge by the end of the eight weeks wins a super fun study break with a ton of awesome food!

Thus far, the most important week of the Quokka Challenge for me has been Week 5. The challenge for Week 5 was sleep, where participants were encouraged to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night and to attempt to keep a consistent sleep schedule. As someone who tends to stay up late doing schoolwork and who naps during the day, this particular challenge encouraged me to reevaluate my sleeping habits and to put myself on a more organized sleeping schedule. I definitely noticed positive changes in my functioning and wellbeing; by the end of the week, I found myself more energized and found it easier to concentrate during class. The Quokka Challenge has definitely helped me establish healthier habits that I hope to continue forming after the eight weeks is finished!

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