By Allison Jarvis, Contributing Writer
The Health Club recently put together an event in the student center called “Chillin’ and Grillin’,” aiming to educate the students and promote ways to make healthy choices in four areas: Physical health, nutritional health, sexual health, and mental health. Each section had tables with different games, activities, quizzes, displays, and pamphlets for students to take.
The Health Club teamed up with students in two health classes to make this event possible. “The long term goal is to change the behavior of students by informing them how to better manage their stress, have a positive sexual health behavior, better nutritional diet, and become more physically active,” said Jamie Dillion, the vice president of the Health Club, via email interview. “It is to promote overall health.”
The games and events acted as an effective stress reliever for finals week. “It was not intended to be this late in the semester but it has worked out nicely as this is when students’ stress levels heighten,” said Colby Stevens, a senior who helped with the mental health portion of the event. “Through this program, we hope to teach students how to effectively manage their stress.”
Free hot dogs and hamburgers were served outside the Student Center and more healthy food was offered in the Landing. There were two games set up for students to show how much sugar is in popular snacks and compare prices between healthy and unhealthy choices.
“There are not a lot of healthy options in college for food and students tend to struggle with eating healthy,” said Norma Williams, a senior and community health education major.
The mental health portion of the event was also hosted in the Landing, including activities like yoga, coloring, and making stress balls. The students of the Health Club find it vitally important for everyone, college students especially, to manage their stress and maintain their mental health, which is often overlooked socially.
Katie Callahan, the health professor and Health Club faculty sponsor who helped oversee this event, believes very firmly in the importance of stress management. “College students have a lot to balance, and that is incredibly difficult,” said Callahan. “Many times, self-care is the first thing that can be pushed aside because it doesn’t come with a ‘deadline.’”
All of the activities offered were chosen so students could feel like they can afford it and have time for it. Pamphlets were handed out with stress management strategies that students can practice at home.
The students running the physical health section had a number of games to play including Twister and Just Dance. One table ran a “Diabetes: Fact vs Myth” Kahoot! trivia game for students to try. If a question was answered incorrectly, the student had to spin the wheel of exercise and do a quick session of jumping jacks, squats, or pushups. The health students always did the exercising with them so no one felt embarrassed.
The students running the sexual health section arranged a small display with a colorful banner hung above the table that read “Let’s talk about sex, baby!” The table was decked with presentation boards providing facts about how to have healthy sex and prevent unwanted pregnancies and diseases. On the table were several products such as birth control, condoms, and even a few sex toys. Students were tested to see if they knew how to put a diaper on a baby doll, or how to properly put on a condom by using a squirt gun made to look like a penis.
To make the subject of sex ed more lighthearted, health student Justin Davis volunteered to come dressed as a condom-themed superhero. He stood at the display, answered students’ questions, and walked around the room tossing packaged condoms at other students.
Dillion spoke about the reasoning behind the outfit. “[It was] definitely an excuse to put our peer in a condom costume,” said Dillion. “Maybe that was not the main reason, but it was definitely a deciding factor. The idea of the condom costume is to draw people in and show how sexual health can be safe and fun!”
Callahan and her students hope that their community not only had a good time but that they felt better prepared for finals week and can take some knowledge with them in the future. “It is in hopes that the students are able to better manage their stress so that they have a higher chance of success and end the year strong!” said Dillion. “Whatever follows them afterward, it would be beneficial for them to have these skills in times of need.” The Health Club hopes to host this event again next year with the same amount of success.