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Healthapalooza to focus on student health and safety

Healthapalooza, an event organized by the Office of Health Promotion in conjunction with many other departments on campus, will be taking over the newly configured O’Neill Plaza, Friday Sept.21 from 11:00am to 2:00pm.

“The purpose is to promote student health and safety, as well as the resources available and ways to be healthy on campus,” Meaghan Wostbrock, A&S'13, a Healthapalooza volunteer, said. This year’s event will focus on the theme of being safe and being part of a community, in addition to being healthy.

“Our tagline for this year is Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be Together. We are just trying to keep the awareness up of students that health, safety, and wellness are things to be thinking about in addition to classes and everything else on students’ minds,” Robyn Priest, associate director in the Office of Health Promotion, said. “There are a lot of great resources on campus to support students as they are trying to become healthier and safer.”

Students will be able to sign up for a session with a massage therapist and explore various tables set up with representatives from different health and safety departments on campus as well as participate in health-related demonstrations.

Eagle EMS will be offering quick CPR demos and teaching people how to perform it on a dummy. The Environmental Health and Safety department are going to giving students a hands-on way of learning to use a fire extinguisher on real fire.

“Which I think is great because I think if I were in a fire, I probably wouldn’t know how to operate one and when you’re in an emergency, it’s not a great time to figure it out,” Priest said of the fire extinguisher demo.

Veggie burgers and herbal ice teas are being given out for free by BC Dining Services. BCPD are going to do Fatal Vision Goggles tests as a way to talk to students about drinking and driving. The goggles are intended to mimic the impairment effects of intoxication.

Emergency Management, which handles the communication to students about weather and other emergencies, will have information about some of the programs they run and how to be prepared the case of an emergency.

Yoga demonstrations, as well as sessions, will be provided by Campus Recreation and Campus Ministry will be offering a seated guided meditation.

“We are giving out this thing the day of the event called a Roadmap and on the front it has a campus map. It actually has a list of all the departments that are having a station at Healthapalooza this year,” Priest said. A star on the map, normally indicating "You are here" will be replaced with a "We are here." The idea, Priest said, is that we are here together and the offices are all here to be supportive in the students’ journeys towards better health.

The back of the map will have a scavenger hunt for the day. Students will need to collect four different stickers from the various stations to receive a free T-shirt.

“Our office is launching our health campaign. Last year it was Be Chill—the stress reduction campaign, and this year it’s called Sweet Dreamzz,” Priest said. With the tagline as “Sleep for Health, Sleep Smart, Sleep for Eight,” the aim is to promote sleep habits of good quality and quantity for students and explaining what the health impacts are of not getting enough sleep.

As part of the campaign, the office will be handing out stress balls shaped as sheep, earplugs, and eye masks.

The campaign will be a yearlong one, featuring speaker Roxanne Prichard, a professor at University of St. Thomas in Minnesota who will be sharing her research about sleep on Oct. 4, in addition to various weekly tabling events and visual components through the Office of Health Promotion’s Facebook page, as well as flyer postings.

New to the office is the "Health Coach" program which is a team of students who have gone through an application, interviewing, and training process to be able to provide one-on-one health sessions for their peers, which includes conducting an individual health plan (iHP).

“Students register online for an iHP, they get paired with a  peer—a health coach,” Priest said, “the student would ask them about different areas of their life in terms of health, nutrition, safety, academics, alcohol, relationships, time management, and stress.” The health coaches can help the students with prioritizing what they want to improve, with goal setting, and providing them with some strategies as well as resources on campus.

The Office of Health Promotion will also be continuing its Be Well lunch series which students can register for ahead of time. The series includes a free lunch and a speaker on a specific health-related topic.

Marion is a senior and double major in Communication and Economics. She's had a goal in pursuing journalism since high school and has been involved ever since.

In the past, she interned for The New England Center for Investigative Reporting and worked with Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Rochelle Sharpe on a story published in the Washington Post. She also interned for the West Roxbury-Roslindale Transcript, a local newspaper headed by GateHouse Media New England.

Originally from France, Marion has lived in a total of 6 countries, and now calls Boston her temporary home. She enjoys traveling and so has been able to see a good portion of Europe and Africa, as well as most of North America and Central America. In the future, Marion hopes she'll be traveling the world while writing for National Geographic.