Wellness Week kicks off

By Dean Hetherington

Protect yourself! That is what the Health Outreach Team and the Students’ Union wants students to remember during Wellness Week. On Valentine’s Day, booths, demonstrations and interactive games were set up to inform students about the importance of personal health.

"I think that this is important," said SU Vice-president Events Jared Lorenz. "It’s your body and your body is a pretty important part of you. It all comes down to if your body fails, then your brain isn’t going to work very well."

AIDS Calgary kicked off events by celebrating National Condom Day (yes, it’s the same day as Valentine’s). Free condoms and condom application demonstrations were given to interested students.

"We have about 20 booths today and we’re going to have about 40 by Wednesday," said HOT Coordinator Danielle Soulliere. "I’m hoping that they [the students] take away some information with them. A lot of people don’t know that we’re on campus or what is even covered in their health benefits."

As part of the activities, HOT and the SU sponsored a play by the Schizophrenia Society and a free Dr. Drink session.

"The Dr. Drink event is new," said Lorenz. "The doctors from Health Services are going to be mixing non-alcoholic drinks. This interactive stuff seems to go over really well."

Some of the other new events included alternative medicine and massage therapy.

"I think that we have tried to cover as much as we can," said Soulliere. "From last year we have a little more alternative health. We have them now, as it is getting more popular."

Due to the amount of activities both the HOT and the SU felt that there was a lot of stress in getting all the sponsors ready.

"It’s just getting back to these people," said Soulliere. "It was about three faxes and about one phone call for each organization."

The organizations themselves felt Wellness Week had a lot of potential.

"It shows that the university is looking out for students," said Campus Security Officer Chris Jenson.

"I think overall they’re getting educated," added AIDS Calgary volunteer Laurie Fownes.

Student reaction was mixed.

"I’m pretty apathetic to the whole thing," said first-year engineering student Greg Clarke.

"I know absolutely nothing about it," added second-year pre-Management student Jarrod Fuhr. "But it’s probably a good thing."

HOT did acknowledge that student apathy was an obstacle.

"Getting people to the booths is not that easy," said Soulliere. "It is hard enough to get someone to come to the booths let alone actually get involved. It’s hard to advertise without spending too much money or wasting too much time."

To counter student apathy, HOT maintains that many of the booths offer information about student related issues.

"I think this is really important to students," said Souliere. "Things like stress management and counseling are very concerned with personal health."

Wellness Week runs until Fri., Feb. 18 with various events in MacEwan Student Centre between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.


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