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Fair promotes student health

Lauren Knauf | Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Students interested in testing their skills at Dance Dance Revolution, enjoying a free chair massage, or learning more about techniques to improve their health and wellness can find opportunities to do all three – and more – at Notre Dame’s first Health and Wellness Fair taking place today.

Josephine Dickinson, staff psychologist at the University Counseling Center and member of the Fair’s planning committee, brought the idea for a collaborative Health and Wellness Fair to Notre Dame from Ohio State, where she formerly worked in the counseling center.

The purpose of the Fair is “to create a campus-wide event that all students would be invited to participate in,” Dickinson said, “and one that would involve many different departments on campus to incorporate all aspects of wellness.”

The conference, taking place today from 4 to 7 p.m. at Rolfs Sports and Recreation Center, will consist of a variety of tables and booths that represent different areas of health and wellness, and will include interactive games and assessments.

The purpose of the activities, Dickinson said, is to raise awareness about health and wellness, as well as the resources available on campus to help students maintain or improve their health.

University Health Services, the University Counseling Center, RecSports, Food Services and the Notre Dame Security Police are among the groups on campus that will be participating in the Fair to ensure that all aspects of student health are covered, Dickinson said.

Students who participate will be able to enjoy a free chair massage from one of the two massage therapists from Preventive Medicine, a company based in South Bend attending.

In addition to relaxation, there will also be opportunities for students to test their dancing skills.

“Physical Education and Wellness is bringing Dance Dance Revolution to promote physical activity,” Dickinson said. “We wanted to provide a mix of fun activities and relaxation, as well as assessments and serious information.”

The University Counseling Center will have a booth set up where students can complete assessments for problems like depression, anxiety and eating disorders. A second table will give students a chance to try some of the happiness and relaxation activities, some of which can be found in the Inner Resources Room at the University Counseling Center.

As incentive to participate in all of the activities the Health Fair offers, raffle tickets will be distributed at each booth for completing an activity or assessment.

“The more activities and assessments you do, the more raffle tickets you’ll get, and the more chances you’ll have to win the prizes,” Dickinson said. “We aimed for prizes that would be pertinent to students, and because this is right around the time of Spring Break, our big ticket item is one airline ticket to anywhere in the U.S.”

Dickinson named the other items that students can win in the raffle, including gift baskets, gift cards to Starbucks and iTunes, and prizes intended to promote wellness, such as a free personal training package.

Ultimately, however, Dickinson emphasized that the Health and Wellness Fair is about more than winning prizes.

“We want students to take away from it an awareness that they need to focus on all aspects of their health and safety,” she said. “And we want them to have fun learning more about the different services on campus and what they can offer them.”