Students teach others to lead healthier lives
By Leah Reif
photo by Leah Reif
Freshmen Amanda Peterson, Kendra Krueger, Dane Zanders
and sophomore Taylor Richter run the It's 5 O'Clock
Somewhere display at UW-Fox's spring wellness fair April 10.
The student-run wellness fair returned to UW-Fox for the fifth year April 10.
Organizers engaged attendees in games and demonstrations to inform them about healthy lifestyle choices from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the atrium and main hallway.
Wendy Seegers, program specialist for alcohol and other drug education, coordinated the event.
The health fair is an annual tradition at Fox.
"Prior to that time, community organizations and businesses were invited to campus promoting various wellness related services and products," Seegers said.
"We believe that students are much more engaged in learning with our current structure."
The fair focused on a variety of health subjects ranging from childhood obesity to stress management.
"This year we had 34 different topics, STIs, vitamins and supplements, cancer and meningitis, to name a few," Seegers said.
"Four faculty members incorporate the student projects into their courses. Students work in groups of two or three for much of the semester to create their display boards, interactive activities and a handout."
Attendees participated in trivia quizzes to win prizes, while some were also brave enough to demonstrate the vision-impairing effects of alcohol by walking while wearing beer goggles.
Students expressed the importance of holding a wellness fair to educate themselves and their peers on the impact of healthy lifestyle choices.
"I think choosing foods for my family and wanting to know what pesticides are, or how they're grown, or what is in the soil, is what motivated me to research more and find out my options. I think it brings a lot of topics to light that don't always get talked about. The fair gets information and free products out to people so they can find what they're looking for," sophomore nursing student Cassie Ramirez, said.
"[The health fair] applies to me because I'm in both biochemistry and physiology, so I think different kinds of foods and the pesticides that are in them affect the way our body metabolizes things. It's important for college students because a lot of the time they get stuck on eating fast foods and processed things," sophomore biology student Emma Stanley, said.
Stanley also commented on the importance of health information reaching college-aged students.
"I think [the wellness fair] helps students become aware of all of these things, especially related to their health. Things like stress and eating badly affects a lot of college students so it helps them to learn about it and improve the way they're living," Stanley said.
Associate professor of physical education Pam Massey has seen her students participate in the wellness fair as part of class curriculum.
"I think the biggest benefit is that the students in the various classes doing the presentations are teaching their peers about various health topics in an informal setting. They make it fun to learn and gear it towards college students," Massey said.
The fair allows the students to discuss topics that are often neglected.
"There are a variety of topics covered that many students may not know much about, or may not feel comfortable discussing. With the health fair, they can get a general understanding of the topics and come away from the fair more knowledgeable on how certain health topics may affect them personally," Massey said.
Massey also commented on how students undertook the assignment of putting on the fair.
"I think it's interesting watching the students develop their thoughts from the beginning of the semester, not being quite sure how they will get it done. Then seeing their end product and having them know that they were able to pull it all together, learning themselves about the topics, and in turn being able to educate their peers," Massey said.
Stress was also a major topic covered at the health fair.
"Everyone experiences stress and I'm stressed sometimes, so it helps for me too to know what you can do to manage your stress," sophomore Cindy Stowasser said.
Joel Morien, a non-traditional student majoring in social work, took the opportunity to participate in the fair to spread the word about stress and keep students informed.
"If you can impact one person it's a success, automatically. If you can have one person look at something differently or change something in their life, it's worth it. All it takes is one person, and we see how many students per day? But we're just going for that one person, because all it takes is one," Morien said.
The wellness fair continues to be an annual opportunity for students to learn and share the impact of healthy lifestyles choices.