By Lurene Heyl, Contributing Writer
Photo by Lurene Heyl/ The Towerlight
Towson University students had the opportunity to explore and talk to a variety of vendors and resources at the annual Health Fair held in the West Village Commons Ballrooms Oct. 23.
The Health Fair included representatives from both on and off campus, and vendors covering a wide variety of health topics such as sexual health, flu shots, asthma and nutrition. Students participated in activities set up at the fair, while learning more about their health.
Allison Seeley, the Coordinator of Health Education and Promotion, explained that the Health Fair is intended to help students find out more about their health and wellness resources around the area.
“People can really engage with their health and learn more about their health, which I think is really important,” Seeley said. “Hopefully it can help students feel confident in taking over their own needs and take advantage of the resources that are available to them around here.”
Seeley also represented two tables: the “Safe Sex Bar” that offered safer sex stations, with items such as free condoms, where students could take a bag and fill it up, as well as the Sexual Assault Peer Educators table, which consisted of students who partook in relationship workshops and intervention trainings.
Seeley’s table focused on love languages as well. Students participated in a quiz that helped them identify exactly what is most meaningful to them in a relationship.
“Love languages is a big part of healthy relationships and can help you communicate the best,” she said. “If you, your partner, family member or a friend know about this information, it might make it easier to communicate.”
Kerry Ballek, the campus dietitian, was in charge of the “Nutrition and Education” table, which focused on letting students aware of their sugar calorie intake.
“My table consists of my nutrition peer eds who have made a board about sugar since it’s close to Halloween,” Ballek said. “It shows what are good and bad sugars and I also have students guessing how much sugar are in these drinks.”
The drinks included some of students everyday favorite drinks such as Gatorade, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Pure Leaf Sweet Tea.
“Students need to limit their calories from added sugar, and fruit does not count,” she said. “They can have as much fruit as they want, but try to stay away from drinking your calories.”
Ballek also offers free nutrition counseling for students, all which can be made through setting up an appointment.
Elizabeth Vaughn and Mckenzie Delahanty, both freshmen and members of the Women’s Cross Country team at TU, came to check out the Health Fair with a couple of their teammates.
“We run Cross Country so we thought it would be cool to learn about other things related to health and what not,” Vaughn said.
Delahanty agreed, adding that as student athletes, it all feels relevant.
“It’s all relevant since we’re athletes,” Delahanty said. “I was interested in coming to see what the Health Fair had to offer and look at all of the vendors.”
Another vendor at the Health Fair was Active Minds, which was represented by Selena St. Jules. This is a mental health advocacy group on campus that fights to end the stigma that surrounds mental health.
Jules explained how the main goal of their group is to bring awareness of the different mental health illnesses, while providing a safe haven for students who may struggle with mental health issues to come together.
“We’re basically educating students on mental illnesses, while making them feel comfortable,” Jules said. “A lot of people do have mental illnesses and some may feel insecure or they can’t come out and talk about it, especially because some of their families aren’t really educated about it.”
“If you come out and you find people that have the same mental illness as you, you can talk about issues that you have and then you can see that people are like you,” she said.
The Active Mind advocacy group meets every Thursday, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the College of Liberal Arts, room 5331.