SGA starts semester by hosting health event

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SGA starts semester by hosting health event

CW/ Hannah Saad

CW/ Hannah Saad

CW/ Hannah Saad

CW/ Hannah Saad

Shahriyar Emami, Staff Reporter

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Student Government Association (SGA) Sen. Jason Rothfarb spoke to an Auburn University senator during Better Relations Day, an event held in October that hosted Auburn students at the University to improve the relationship between the two schools. Their conversation sparked an idea.

Rothfarb, a sophomore majoring in political science, got inspired to spearhead Days of Health, a three-day event promoting student health and wellness.

“[The Auburn senator] was telling me about this great program that they were putting on, and it sort of had the same foundation as three Days of Health,” Rothfarb said. “So from our enemy but also our friend, we learned that this program could work at Alabama, too.”

With winter break coming to an end, the SGA wanted to get students back into the swing of things at the start of the spring semester, so it kicked off its first Days of Health on the first three days of classes, which began Jan. 9 and ends Jan. 11.

Each day of the event follows a different theme: physical health, mental health and emotional health.

Physical activities like yoga were organized by the Student Recreation Center and offered in the Ferguson Center on Jan. 9.

On the mental health day, a representative from the Counseling Center will have a table set up in the Ferg, and the SGA will have a table with stress balls available for students.

On Jan. 11, SGA will partner with University of Alabama Dance Marathon (UADM), Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) and the B+ Foundation, a childhood cancer awareness group, to give presentations for emotional health day. The SGA will also have sign-ups for a Fresh Food Cooking Class taking place at a later date.

Rothfarb said people should care about the event because health is a big part of everyday life.

“Even if you don’t realize it, your physical health has an impact on your mental health and your mental health has an impact on your emotional health,” Rothfarb said.  

For the events, Clay Martinson, SGA vice president of student affairs and a junior majoring in history, is using SGA’s large membership and wide-reaching platform to promote awareness of existing organizations on campus and in Tuscaloosa. Some of the organizations the SGA is partnering with during the events include the SAFE Center, the UA Counseling Center and the Student Recreation Center.

“All these different resources have so many things that students just might not know about, and we’re able to bring everyone to the table through our platform and make sure we’re educating students on the resources that we have,” Martinson said.

Pamela Jones, executive director of the Tuscaloosa SAFE Center, a nonprofit in Tuscaloosa aiming to support survivors of sexual assault, said the SGA reached out to her and asked if the Center would participate in Days of Health.

“Certainly we want to be part of as many health fairs, awareness outreach opportunities as we can find,” Jones said.

While representatives from the SAFE Center will not be present during Days of Health, Martinson said they are still being promoted as a resource.

Jones said she wants to reduce any fear associated with visiting the Center by providing awareness.

The SAFE Center has SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurses, who are at the highest level of nurse examiners when dealing with sexual assault cases. Jones said SANE-certified nurses are allowed to certify and teach other SANE nurses, as well as testify in court.

“A vision that I have for this Center is that it also becomes a training facility,” Jones said.

Martinson said the SGA hopes Days of Health will encourage people to think more about their own health.

“This is something that we want to make sure that we’re getting the conversation started and hopefully get people into the habit of thinking about their physical, mental and emotional health,” Martinson said.