Student Wellness Fair is first of its kind on campus

May 13, 2010, 1:04 a.m.

The BeWell program’s student outreach campaign took its next steps on Wednesday with the first Student Wellness Fair, held in White Plaza.

The fair’s activities and games served as the event’s main draw. A dunk tank was one of the biggest attractions, featuring several members of the football team and ASSU President Angelina Cardona ’11.

Student Wellness Fair is first of its kind on campus
Students, role-playing as sperm cells, race through an obstacle course and cross several contraceptive "traps" to be the first sperm to reach and fertilize the egg. The race was part of a variety of games and activities at the campus' first Student Wellness Fair on Wednesday afternoon. (MASARU OKA/Staff Photographer)

Another prominent fixture was a sexual education obstacle course set up behind the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center (SHPRC) table. Two participants at a time wearing “sperm hats” raced through a kite-shaped “vagina” made out of PVC pipe before popping a condom with oil-based lube and heading over small hurdles labeled with the names of different contraceptives.

They then had to go through garbage cans labeled as Fallopian tubes before throwing beanbags into a hole to “fertilize the egg” and win the race.

Describing the process that led to the course’s creation, Steven Crane ’11, a SHPRC volunteer, said, “We asked ourselves, ‘How are we going to get people to engage with something?'”

“It sort of emulates what happens in nature,” he added.

“It’s a creative way to let people know the facts with sexual health,” Cardona said. “There can be large differences between students in knowledge about sexual health.”

Other activities included sumo-suit wrestling, a bean-bag toss and free massages next to the Claw. Jamba Juice set up a table to hand out free smoothie samples and coupons, and BeWell also gave away water bottles and t-shirts. Students who participated in two or more activities were eligible to enter a raffle drawing.

For fair organizers and wellness proponents on campus, the fair was also an opportunity to combine the efforts of various wellness organizations on campus.

“A lot of groups do things on their own; we wanted to bring them together, and support students doing what they already do,” said Jennifer Sexton, one of the BeWell campaign’s coordinators. “We’re now at a point where we want to include students.”

Sexton said the fair acted as BeWell’s launching point for its student passport wellness program. Similar to the incentive program already in place for University employees, the passport is designed to reward those who are already active and incentivize other students to become more involved in wellness.

The passport program will be fully implemented at the start of fall quarter, she said.

Donnovan Yisrael ’89, a health educator for Health Promotion Services (HPS), said the group is looking to promote the idea that “you can have fun when talking about health.”

“We’re emphasizing balance — you can have fun and still take care of yourself,” Yisrael said. “We need to take away the idea that health is all hard work. If you make health fun, people will do it.”

HPS and BeWell primarily funded the event, with additional support coming from the Wellness Room, SHPRC and Stanford Dining.

Cardona also discussed the Wellness Room’s role in the fair from her perspective as one of the room’s founders.

“The Wellness Room is a hub and a central point of communication on campus,” she said. “The fact that [the room] helped sponsor the event is in line with what I envisioned the room’s role to be.”

A number of other groups with ties to wellness — such as SHPRC, Stanford Dining, Stanford Peace of Mind and the physical recreation department — had set up tables at the fair.

While Wednesday’s fair was the first of its kind, HPS hopes to continue holding similar fairs in the future.

“We want to make it an annual thing,” said Jarreau Bowen, the coordinator of the Peer Health Education (PHE) program. “The PHEs have been talking for years about a health and wellness fair . . . I used to see small groups in White Plaza. We thought, why don’t we combine efforts and do a big thing instead of small events?”

Bowen said that the goals of the fair mirror the general goals of BeWell: to “get active, eat well and unwind.”

“We want to celebrate ways in which we are living well,” Bowen said.

Kabir Sawhney is currently a desk editor for the News section. He served as the Managing Editor of Sports last volume.

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