Health and Wellness Fair educates at the Ferg

Ethan Summers

The Student Government Association and Project Health are hosting the Student Health and Wellness Fair today at the Ferguson Student Center.

             The fair itself is free to students, and this year’s fair focuses on a total approach to health, said Michelle Harcrow, advisor for Project Health.

             Harcrow said health isn’t just the lack of ailments or injury, but a proactive effort. She listed health as having six focuses: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental.

             “To have a balance in all six of those areas is what makes a person truly healthy,” Harcrow said.

             Harcrow said a financial approach to health would be included in this year’s fair, including an hour-long program about financial awareness and responsibility.

             “We actually address the financial area of health and we’re going to be offering the ‘Financial Peace for the Next Generation’ program,” Harcrow said. She said the program began Sept. 29 and continues through Nov. 19.

             Jackie Parks, Harcrow’s assistant and a graduate assistant with the health information and wellness, handled making arrangements with vendors for the fair.

             “We are having some really great vendors coming to the fair,” Parks said. “We are trying to get a good variety to be able to give our students.”

             Parks said the fair would address physical health by hosting the Student Health Center and offering flu shots. The shots cost $20 but are charged to a student account.

             Parks said T-Town PAWS is scheduled to attend.

             “T-Town PAWS is coming to do some overall advertising for a walk they’re doing,” Parks said. “They’re going to be bringing a couple of animals to the fair and trying to promote exercising with your animals.”

             Parks said the mental health focus would have counselors from the Women’s Resource Center and the counseling center present for students to speak with.

             A large focus of the fair is substance abuse, Parks said. As a health threat, it’s common among college students.

             “The West Alabama Narcotics Task Force has a lot of really awesome pictures of people that have done meth or who has a meth house,” Parks said. “It’s a really big awareness for drug and alcohol abuse.”

             LessThanUThink, a campus-based alcohol awareness program, will also be present.

             Griffith Waller, one of the founders of the LTUT campaign, stressed the program’s focus on awareness, not prohibition.

             “Instead of using scare tactics, the LTUT campaign focuses on here-and-now effects of binge-drinking, like calling an ex or forgetting to close one’s credit card at a bar,” Waller said. “It should not be confused with an anti-drinking campaign.”

             For students looking for a few minutes of relaxation, Parks said massage therapists would be giving free five-minute massages.

             Both Parks and Harcrow said the focus of the fair is really on making healthy choices.

             “It’s about making healthy decisions,” Parks said. “It’s a really great fair, and it’s fun,” “People are giving away free stuff. The booths have awesome and fun ways to make you learn.”