Holistic health at the Annual Health Fair


Alexus Krause, Contributor

A variety of vendors crowded the Cal U Convocation Center this past Wednesday, offering a plethora of pamphlets, brochures, and free samples. The 2021 Annual Health Fair saw many regular vendors from past years, but this year’s holistic theme brought some off-campus partners to Cal U Students.

Vendors such as representatives from the U.S. forces, The Redstone Pharmacy, and even Walmart’s vision center showed up to provide information to students and staff.

Among these vendors was the Washington County Behavioral Health and Development Services, giving mental health screenings to students. Sara Sichi, one of the people running to the booth, gave an overview of the importance of students’ mental health.

“Students are not aware of the resources out here or of the support that is available. We have peer services and outpatient clinics,” said Sichi.

Sichi also highlights the importance of having someone to talk to about mental health, as well as having the resources to make it through difficult times, especially in college. She also mentions the importance of helping student peers with tough times if possible.

“Students need to not be afraid to talk and ask questions. Encourage support and therapy for your peers and just remind them someone is there to listen,” said Sichi.

Along with mental health, resources was STAND Campus Ministry. Pete Ware engaged students with insight about where they may need spiritual healing, from self-worth to shame.

“Shame is the one thing they don’t want to ask about but need to deal with. Shame is different than guilt; I feel shame if I don’t measure up to who I should be. Guilt is just doing something wrong and feeling bad,” said  Ware.

Another aspect of the holistic health theme was a focus on nutritional health. AVI Food system had a booth set up with a visual example of the hidden sugars in foods college students may not be aware of. Dietician Lindsey Kirila understands the obstacles with eating healthy as a student on the go and offers some possible ways to find nutrition.

“Find convenient and nutrient-filled foods when you’re on the go,” said Kirila, offering fresh fruits at the table just next to containers full of the sugar that comes in daily food students may eat or drink.

Rachel Michaels, who was concerned about the possible turnout of the event, was particularly pleased with the results.

“We had between 400-500 participants. It’s a little bit less than usual but we have lower enrollment and fewer vendors, so it’s a good turnout, everything considered, said Michaels”

The focus on holistic health was a difference in past health fairs, but Michaels considered it a welcome one.

“We had multiple mental health tables, which is more than we normally have. I just think it was something different for students to do, with vendors and giveaways. I think going out and doing something different was exciting,” said Michaels.