The UMF Health Club and health classes aimed to show students that managing stress and health is important for success (Photo by Gina Schultz)
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.”
Justin Davis wearing a “Captain Condom” costume (Photo by Gina Schultz)
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.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org.