By Elina Shapiro Staff Reporter

This Saturday, December 8th from 11am-2pm, the HEA 310 class will be holding an event on the UMF Beach to encourage health on campus by hosting activities covering a wide variety of areas including sexual health, exercise, and the effects of smoking.

   In the class, Principles of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, students learn how to effectively promote health topics to different crowds and target audiences. Each semester, students create a project to increase health awareness and focus on a certain population. These projects are resume boosters, and students will become better health promoters/educators as a result. Since college students are their target audience this semester, students in the class thought about what topics are relevant to college students in general and UMF students in particular.

   Many college-aged adults are misinformed when it comes to sexual health, which is one of the topics represented on Saturday. Alison Laplante, a junior Community Health major, said, “Our purpose is to educate students about the risks of having unprotected sex and engaging in risky sexual behaviors and to raise awareness on how to stay safe while participating in such acts as well as having resources to go to.”

   Laplante went on to say that “people don’t want to talk about [sexual health] because they’re uncomfortable or they just think it’s inappropriate to talk about, but that’s kind of the opposite. You have to talk about it if you want to see change and to protect your bodies,” said Laplante. “I think there’s a lack of education because a lot of parents don’t want to talk about it with their kids and not everyone takes a health class.”

   There are going to be activities to make the event interactive and engaging. “We’re going to provide knowledge on three main categories, STDs, condom usage, and contraceptives and birth control methods,” said Kyla Sturtevant, a senior and Biological Health Sciences major. “We’re going to have a fact vs. myth game and it’ll provide information about sexual health behaviors that college students may not even know about or understand.”

   The goal of this event is so that UMF students will walk away with the knowledge and tools to become healthier. Maddie Dewitt, a junior Community Health major, said,

“We hope that they will learn at least one new thing about sexual health that they may not have known before and that they will share it with others to help in the prevention of unhealthy sexual behaviors.”

   In addition to promoting sexual health, the event on Saturday will also cover the importance of exercise. “The purpose of our program is to educate UMF students about their options on campus for exercising, especially students who think they only have the one option of going to the FRC,” said Kim Richards, a senior Rehab major. The exercise group will map distances around Farmington so students can see how much exercise they get walking to stores in town from UMF.

   Students involved in the event plan on talking about group fitness classes, intramurals, varsity and club sports and activities run by Mainely Outdoors. “We’re hoping that after this project that people will be more interested in different types of exercise around the community instead of just at the FRC,” said Richards.

   The exercise group stressed that students don’t understand the wide realms of opportunities they have to get exercise. “I think it’s something that’s overlooked a lot, we don’t think about it much but it’s really important,” said Anna Warren, a junior community health major.

   Kendra Burgess, a junior community health major, said, “I know as a freshman I didn’t know about all of those club sports offered, or all of the intramurals offered or group fitness classes even so I think just educating people about that, especially the younger people at UMF would be better.”

   Burgess assures that participants will be very involved in Saturday’s event. “We’re gonna have fun activities. We’re gonna have “Just Dance” for people to participate in as well as having a mystery box of exercises to do to win prizes,” said Burgess. “They pick exercises and depending on how many or which exercise they can win different prizes.”

   In addition to broadening understanding of sexual health and the benefits of exercise, students will engage in activities that show the effects of smoking. RJ Card, a super senior and General Studies major, said, “Our overall purpose for our project was to educate UMF students of all ages, of the risks and dangers of using smoke and tobacco and E-Cigarette products. We’re trying to get people more educated on what the dangers are, and possible health outcomes of using these products.”

   Students will also participate in a Kahoot game that will teach them facts, as well as photos of what happens when you smoke an E-cigarette or tobacco. “I am also making a poster of the finances if you do smoke over the course of a year vs. what you would save if you don’t smoke at all,” said Derek Bowen a junior Community Health major.

   For more information about the class or Saturday’s event, contact professor Kate Callahan at Katie.callahan@maine.edu.

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