By Fabiola Barral
As Grinnellians headed to the D-hall this past Tuesday, they were met with numerous stations with condoms, plants and beer goggles. For the past five years, the Wellness Fair, hosted by the Wellness Program and Grinnell Regional Medical Center, has continuously strived to reflect a diverse range of ways to improve health and wellness.
“I think it’s important to see different clubs represented on campus run by students concerned about health and passing the knowledge on to others,” said Jen Jacobsen ’95, Wellness Coordinator and one of the organizers of the fair.
The diversity of this year’s fair did not disappoint, with a wide variety of tables and activities. Students were able to plot their own plants at the Hall Wellness Coordinator’s (HWC) station, and pick up a packet of hot chocolate to go. The HWC’s table was so popular that many of the supplies ran out in the first hour.
“After our HWC trip to Denmark, our goal has become to think up ways to promote hygge, which is a Danish word for ‘cozy’. The candles and plants help create this cozy vibe we’re looking to achieve,” said Austin McKenney ’14, Loosehead HWC.
Another popular station was SHACS’ “Design Your Own Condom” activity, coordinated through the ONE condom company; ONE condoms are known for having creative designs on their wrappers, such as “ONE great catch” and “rubber ducky, you’re the ONE.”
Students who designed condoms could submit their creations to ONE, as the company is rewarding an individual with $1000 for the best and most creative condom wrapper design.
Alongside the crafty station was an abundance of ONE condoms for students to take; these condoms are also always given away in SHACS.
Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s contribution was crucial to the Wellness Fair, as GRMC coordinated the massage chairs that many Grinnellians lined up to use.
Additionally, the Grinnell Police Department held a table to promote the Citizens Police Academy. Their booth handed out sticker replications of GPD badges and “drunk goggles” that simulated the vision of someone with a BAC level of 0.08.
The police academy provides skills related to sobriety testing, narcotics detection training, firearms training, defensive tactics and criminal investigation.
“The academy helps show the things we go through when we were training, but at a lower level. Mostly, it helps place emphasis on how and why we do the things we do,” said Officer Mick Dickenson.
Clubs such as Active Minds were also present at the fair to promote the awareness of mental illness on campus.
“Our goal was to raise awareness about the prevalence of mental health issues on college campuses as well as destigmatize mental health,” said Daria Brosius ’15, leader of the Active Minds group on campus and copy editor for the S&B.
McKenney echoed Brosius’ concern about a lack of attention toward mental health.
“I don’t think mental health is a priority on campus, which is obviously not a good thing. It often takes a backseat to getting everything else done. I do think the Wellness Fair helps with that idea,” McKenney said. “Even with just the fruit [that was] out, so many students were grabbing them and making comments on how just eating fruit made them feel more ‘well.’”
As the spring semester settles in with the first round of exams and papers, the Wellness Fair came at a great time to remind Grinnellians to take care of their health by focusing on the seven dimensions of wellness: social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual and physical.
By offering a plethora of ways to be healthy aside from exercise and proper diet, the Wellness Program hopes to see Grinnellians continue these practices beyond the annual event.