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Fair features options for healthy lifestyles

Shannon O'Brien | Wednesday, February 29, 2012


With spring break approaching quickly, health-minded students descended on the third annual Student Health and Wellness Fair on Wednesday to learn about the opportunities for healthy living available at Notre Dame and in the South Bend community.

Jennie Phillips, RecSports assistant director of fitness and fitness facilities, said organizers conceived “How the Health Are You?” three years ago after seeing similar fairs at other schools. 

“We felt that Notre Dame could use such an event to make sure students know of all the resources available to them,” she said.  “We looked at all the facets of wellness in the lives of college students and made sure to address each of them.”

Phillips said students should prioritize their health, even if it means taking extra time to exercise and eat well.

“As a college student there are so many demands put upon students, that sometimes they can forget the importance of health,” Phillips said. “This fair provides a chance to refocus.”

The fair brought together a variety of health and wellness groups, including Notre Dame Food Services, RecSports, the University Counseling Center and South Bend’s Memorial Sleep Disorders Center. 

Freshman Kathryn Bush said she appreciated learning about health and wellness opportunities in South Bend.

“I think it’s really great organizations from South Bend are here,” she said.  “I learned of resources that are so close to campus I never knew existed, such as Salon Rouge, a full-service salon only a few miles away.”

Freshman Julianne Carson said the fair’s collection of health groups represented a variety of needs.

“I was so impressed with the diversity of groups at the fair. They had everything from sleep deprivation to fitness,” she said. 

The fair also introduced students to on-campus opportunities to improve health and wellness.

“I had never been to Rolfs [Sports Recreation Center],” freshman Christina Serena said. “So this fair was the perfect opportunity to check the gym out, as well as learn about so many opportunities I never knew existed.”

The Office of Sustainability contributed to the fair to promote the connection between health and sustainable living, senior Office of Sustainability intern Jenna Heffernan said.

“Sustainability is a very important aspect of health because in order for us to be physically healthy, we need a clean environment to live in,” she said. “No matter how many new products we manufacture, we will never be able to produce a new atmosphere.”

The Office of Alcohol and Drug Education allowed students to simulate the visual impairment caused by alcohol by playing Wii Bowling while wearing “beer goggles.” 

In addition to the event’s interactive tables, several presentations educated students on relevant health issues, including meditation techniques, sleep issues, energy drinks and partying.

Phillips said the overall goal of the fair was to promote education and a health-conscious attitude among students. 

“We also wanted to make this fair a learning experience,” Phillips said. “The collegiate setting is the first time many students are living on their own, making it the perfect time to start developing life-time habits regarding health.”