Wellness fair to promote healthy living

Despite February’s gloomy atmosphere, students will have a chance to liven up at the upcoming Wellness Fair on Tuesday in various rooms throughout the JRC.

Wellness Coordinator Jen Jacobsen ’95 said she organized the fair in order to promote healthier habits on campus and define wellness beyond typical issues such as alcohol and sleep. The fair will include a variety of exhibits, ranging from a discussion on the benefits of drinking tea to time for petting therapy dogs.

“People have an initial reaction that wellness is exercising and eating right, but really it’s much more holistic than that,” Jacobson said. “There’s a whole of bunch of areas in your life where you can address wellness.”

According to Rebecca Gernes ’09, who will be leading a yoga demonstration, awareness of wellness at Grinnell has increased since her first year. “I was really surprised when I came here three years ago and there wasn’t a yoga community,” Gernes said. “But now it’s been thriving, with people coming every week and regular attendance in the classes.”

While wellness has slowly become a more visible part of campus life, SGA Vice President for Student Affairs John Burrows ’10 said he believes the campus needs more wellness education. “Often at times at Grinnell we get into contests of ‘who can sleep the least’ or ‘who can drink the most on weekends’,” Burrows said. “There needs to be a cultural shift that places more emphasis on wellness, which can decrease stress on campus.”

Even though alcohol-related hospitalizations were high last semester, Jacobsen said the wellness fair was not a direct response to alcohol concerns. “The wellness fair was already in production before the students came back in August,” Jacobsen said. “The students’ relationship with alcohol is only just a tiny piece of the picture.”

Beyond the Wellness Fair, Jacobsen hopes to promote healthy habits through new events such as spinning and yoga classes, as well as a square dancing Harris party later in the semester.