By Madison Pena
Students spent the day circling tables and participating in activities that helped promote healthy decision making on April 3 in the Recreation Center.
The sixth annual “THRIVE: Wellness Expo” was hosted by the College’s health and wellness department and included more than 25 vendors who provided various activities for students, including Attitudes in Reverse, which offered a pet therapy experience and free massages provided by Body Zen.
The event took place during National Public Health Week and was held to help increase student awareness of the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices.
Extensive preparation went into organizing and advertising for the event, according to Lexi Marta, a sophomore communication studies major and peer educator for THRIVE.
“As peer educators, we organized different events throughout the year that culminated to this campus-wide event,” she said.
Along with organizing events leading up to the Expo, the peer educators were also tasked with promoting the event, coming up with ideas for activities and designing pamphlets and informational flyers.
The THRIVE peer educators ran a table on how to efficiently save money and balance priorities, where participants would pick a salary out of a hat, spin a wheel and be given a scenario in which they had to guess what portion of their salary would go toward entertainment or other daily costs.
“I always think of THRIVE as a proactive approach to your health rather than a reactive one,” Marta said. According to Marta, THRIVE focuses more on what people can do to start on the track of wellness and balanced health before potential problems arise instead of combating problems that might already exist.
Many of the tables also highlighted the importance of physical health and offered fitness activities and tests to determine people’s health, fitness and flexibility levels. Tasneem Amer and Jessica Wienckoski, both junior health and exercise science majors, ran a table that examined different ways of testing physical health.
“One of our classes is assessment methods,” Amer said. “We learned how to measure blood pressure and heart rate, so now it’s cool to be able to put what we learned into practice.”
Wienckoski agreed, adding that they included fun activities, such as an obstacle course and balance testing.
“We’re taking things we learned but making it more fun for people who participate,” she said.
In addition to the fitness tests, the College offered a free 30-minute fitness class following the Expo and also hosted a free-trial day at the Fitness Center, which included group fitness classes and orientations, for all faculty and staff in attendance.
Some of the most popular stations at the Expo included the therapy dogs brought by the Therapeutic Dog program, “Attitudes in Reverse,” and mini horses brought by Hope’s Promise. The mini horses were clad in small children’s size shoes and drew a large crowd of students who were able to take selfies with them.
“Seeing the mini ponies was by far my favorite part,” said junior journalism and professional writing major Gabriella Lucci. “Watching people jump to see who could reach the highest was very entertaining too.”
THRIVE allowed students to learn about health and wellness in an engaging and entertaining way, without losing sight of the event’s core focus — the importance of taking care of oneself.
After another successful year in the books, THRIVE’s members look to further educate the College’s students and faculty about the importance of wellness in the future.
“This program is important because we’re teaching people to take care of themselves,” Marta said. “We’re really trying to keep people informed and take a proactive approach to health and wellness.”