by Shelbey Hernandez
The Lance – News Editor
If post-secondary students are asked if they take care of themselves, chances are their answer will be somewhere along the lines of, “Oh I don’t have time for that.”
After all, there are many things that occupy their time. They have class, homework, attempts at social lives and many have to hold down jobs. By the time that is all said and done, even the thought of “healthy living” simply disappears from their minds and pretty much from their vocabulary.
But with the 24th annual Health Fair held on Sept. 20 at UWindsor, students were given a chance to discover how and why they should manage their health no matter how busy life gets.
The Health Fair has been around since 1993. Each year, around 1,500 students and staff take the time to visit the fair where there are approximately 40 booths. Some are affiliated with UWindsor and some are off campus.
There were many booths displaying information for just about everything health-related. There was a booth for women’s sexual health, a booth for athletic health, a booth for healthy eating and a booth for gambling addiction.
Everything was covered from physical to mental to even spiritual health. Physical and mental health may be familiar topics, but spiritual health, according to Chrisandra Skipper with the campus ministry, is very important.
Working for the ministry, Skipper said she exercises her spiritual health through prayer. However, she said everyone should be concerned with their spiritual health, even if they aren’t religious.
“For me, I pray but maybe that’s not what someone else would want to do. Even so, there are still ways for people who aren’t religious to exercise their spirit,” said Skipper. “Some of these things are meditation, doing good deeds, stepping away from the craziness of life. Either way, these three things (mental, physical and spiritual health) affect one another. Our bodies affect our minds and our minds affect our spirit. The goal is to be well-rounded and be healthy in all areas.”
Not only do they teach students about how to take care of themselves, many provide interactive activities. For example, the Student Health Services had a carbon monoxide test participants could try, the Substance Education Team simulated for students what it’s like being under the influence and the Canadian College Health Science department provided free massages.
The booths weren’t just about providing health instruction to students and staff. They also gave groups an opportunity for exposure which they may not have had much of before.
Many colleges and universities choose to publish a magazine known as Student Health 101. Among these schools is UWindsor who have been publishing their version of the magazine for quite some time. With different schools having different needs, the magazines can be changed to better reflect specific universities and colleges. Although UWindsor’s version wants to be able to do this, with less than desirable student readership, it can make such a task difficult. That is why the Health Fair is so important to them.
“I think it’s a problem that not enough people know about it,” said Tiffany Hyatt who was one of the people manning the Student Health 101 booth. “They give us this task of figuring out what students need but if students aren’t reading it right now and don’t know it exists, then how am I going to figure out what they’re going to want to read? That’s why we need to be here to get the word out.”
Life can be busy and rather hectic once post-secondary begins. Sometimes, even making time for a meal can seem impossible. However, even though each booth had something different to promote, they all had one goal in mind: to ensure students and staff learn to make time to care for themselves in every way possible.