More than a Mile: The Daily Mile fosters Community

Posted: October 20, 2022 12:00:00 AM CDT

Dr. Shannon Mulhearn completing her Daily Mile in front of a UNK themed mural in downtown Kearney, Nebraska.

UNK encompasses many different highlights for many different people, but for some, the community, both on and off campus, is the one characteristic that stands above the rest.

Community remains a vital part in education and growth, whether at the undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate level. For Dr. Shannon Mulhearn, community comprises much of her motivation for the work she does at UNK, including one of her latest projects: the Daily Mile.

“I chose this job over another offer I had because of the people I would get to work with in the Health and Physical Education program,” Mulhearn said.

As an assistant professor for the Kinesiology and Sports Science Department, Mulhearn knows the importance of teamwork.
“Our program communicates well and works together to make sure the students are being well prepared as future educators,” she said.

Preparing students for their futures is not Mulhearn’s only community contribution. Like many professors, Mulhearn serves in advisor capacities, particularly for the Health and Physical Education Majors’ Club, and finds ways to support her students through campus events and sports.

The broader community of Kearney is also important to Mulhearn.

“I enjoy supporting our local community through the places I choose to shop and eat,” she said.

Whether the events that happen in the community are UNK related or not, Mulhearn is all about making meaningful connections with people.
“I do like being able to connect with community members who have skills they can share with our students,” said Mulhearn.

Recently, she had an instructor from the community with certifications in Pound fitness visit her classes, a relationship that has been in existence for several years now. Through experiences and relationships like these, Mulhearn has been able to teach students meaningful lessons not only for education but also for life.

“I point out to my students the benefit of networking in the community,” she said.

One of Mulhearn’s current projects aims to contribute not only to the UNK and Kearney communities, but also to communities across the nation.

The Daily Mile is a national initiative that motivates school-age kids to get up and be active for at least fifteen minutes each day.

“At UNK, we have taken the model of the Daily Mile USA and expanded the target population,” Mulhearn said.

The goal is to invite more than just students in grades K-12 to participate in The Daily Mile; UNK’s iteration aims to bring the initiative to the Kearney campus and community.

One of the best parts about the Daily Mile is that participants can do it at any time of day, anywhere in the world, and with whoever wants to join. This free and easy activity has only one requirement: walk, jog, or run one mile a day.
“The Daily Mile is a reminder of how easy it is to do one small thing each day,” Mulhearn said. The focus is on face-to-face interactions.

“We are social beings,” said Mulhearn. “This is a great program that uses our social connections to keep us all moving.”

For those in Kearney, on campus or in the community, a formal Daily Mile event is held once every two to three weeks. Meeting locations vary each time, and a brief history is shared about the building or location where the participants begin.

Through partnership between the Office of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach and the HPE Majors’ club, Mulhearn hopes to reach a larger audience. As the event grows, she encourages collaboration among other groups on campus and in the UNK community.

“We would love to see student organizations spread the word and lead their own walks or runs throughout the week as well,” Mulhearn added.


If you’re interested in joining The Daily Mile, you can register using this link: It’s free and easy to do! Once you’ve completed registration, you’ll receive information about events on campus that you can participate in. You can also follow UNK’s Daily Mile on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the handle @UNKDailyMile.

By: Tatiana Moore and Mila Bednar

Category: UNK Online, Graduate Studies, General, Business and Technology

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