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Health Fair provides solutions for the winter blues

Campus Entertainment Commission will be hosting the fourth annual Concordia Health Fair on Jan. 27. The health fair will focus on six main areas of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, intellectual, and occupational.

This year, the health fair will feature 34 separate organizations, including a dozen on-campus organizations and a keynote speaker. The organizations will be offering a variety of screenings, samples, and demonstrations—everything from free massages and a 30-minute yoga session to screenings for bad posture, skin damage, and nerve activity.

“It’s really a full house in the Centrum,” said Paul Wraalstad, director of Student Programming and Facilities.

Concordia’s Health Center will also take the opportunity to distribute a selection of brochures about a variety of health issues at a table set up along with the other organizations’ displays.

Kathy Benson, the Kjos Heath Center registered nurse, said that students tend to gravitate towards the materials at the Health Center table because it’s easier and more anonymous than coming into the Health Center for information.

“It’s amazing how those brochures disappear,” she said.

Benson added that she is glad to present students with information so that they can take steps to become healthy before health problems strike. She said the majority of students who do go to the Health Center do so because they are already sick.

“We deal more with treating than prevention,” she said.

According to Holsman, CEC tried to contact as many different kinds of health-related organizations in the community as possible in order to address all six areas of wellness.

“We try to have a balance of each of these categories,” said Alex Holsman, a junior who is this year’s Health Fair coordinator.

Holsman did note that this year they had trouble getting local fitness organizations to come. Both Anytime Fitness and Edge Fitness declined their invitations because, due to New Year’s resolutions, this is one of the busiest times of year for them.

Wraalstad believes that it is crucial to give students access to information about wellness in all forms because it is so closely linked with academic performance.
“All of those concepts have a significant impact on student success,” he said.
The health fair will feature a Concordia alumnus as its keynote speaker. Judy Siegle, who lost the use of her legs in an auto accident while she was at Concordia, went on to become a wheelchair racer in the Paralympics and write a book called “Living Without Limits.”

“Her message is that of never setting limits to one’s full potential and to never live life as bystanders,” said Carly Hedge, CEC’s Health, Wellness, and Diversity coordinator.

Hedge believes that she will be able to connect with students beyond their shared experiences at Concordia.

The health fair is not the only way that the college is trying to keep its students informed about health issues. A new electronic publication, “Student Health 101,” will be emailed to all Concordia students on a monthly basis starting this month.
The online health newsletter will include articles addressing common college problems like sexual health, weight management, and sleep, as well as more specific issues such as cervical cancer vaccinations. Wraalstad said this will help Concordia staff relay information on to students who often don’t have access to health-related news.

“As a student affairs staff, we’re always challenged to present new information to students,” he said.

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