The Aebersold Student Recreation Center (ARC) was filled with students, faculty members and community members passionate about health and the wellness of others Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during SRU’s annual HealthFest. Students and faculty representing groups on campus stood by tables representing different aspects of health and wellness, including mental health, knowledge about food and water, and exercise. Some groups featured games and activities, and many groups had brochures and flyers to hand out to students observing.
One of the groups represented was Student Health Services, who are located in Rhoads Hall; student employees spent their time encouraging others to get their annual flu shots. Junior early childhood and special education major and Student Health Services employee Seth Lisi was one of the representatives throughout the day. Lisi said he had begun his time at HealthFest behind the Student Health Services table, but when he came out into the general area, he was able to approach more students and educate more about the flu and why they should get their shots.
“Flu season’s coming up,” Lisi said. “We just want to make sure everyone is protected and stays as healthy as possible.”
Community members were also present in the ARC; one of those members was Vernon Hilyer, the man in charge of the organization Brandon’s Dad. Hilyer lost his son Brandon in 2008 when Brandon got behind the wheel of a vehicle intoxicated; now, Hilyer travels all over the state to speak at schools to students that may need to hear his story. His presentation features a slideshow made up of pictures of Brandon before his death, brochures and business cards, and activities using beer goggles.
“Brandon was the all-American kid,” Hilyer said of his late son. “He just made a bad choice.”
Hilyer aims to educate the young as much as possible, because he believes it’s more difficult to get it through the heads of those who are older; those older people are already set in their ways and their beliefs.
“My ultimate goal is to keep one more kid alive, and one more family’s dreams alive,” Hilyer said. “You never know who you’ve affected, you’ll only know who you didn’t affect.”
The Pennsylvania Public Health Association (PPHA) was also represented at HealthFest Tuesday with three different tri-folds of information; one of these tri-fold presentations featured a focus on Thanksgiving food and how to make Thanksgiving healthier. The presentation went into detail about how to lessen portion intake and foods to eat during Thanksgiving that are less calorie-dense. Freshman public health major and active member of PPHA Jaclyn Baumgardner said she has a real passion for educating people about how to stay healthy, and that’s why she chose her major.
“The intention of PPHA is to educate the student population about living healthier on campus and in everyday life,” Baumgardner said.
As a freshman and first-timer at HealthFest, Baumgardner said the environment was encouraging, and she had a good experience; she plans to return when it comes back around next year.
In the future, PPHA will host the Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 17, as well as World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.