In the more than 20 years since its humble beginning the University of Arkansas-Monticello Wellness Fair has become an annual event. The fair drew almost 400 students, staff and faculty March 9.
It started with the former student health nurse Classie Jones who held a small health fair for students. After Jones left, Julie Gentry, Intramural director took over the planning of the event. When UAM hired Terri Richardson, RN, she became Gentry’s co-chair. The two now work with a committee comprised of faculty and staff from Counseling, Testing and Career services, Gateway Student Support, school of education and the division of nursing.
Laura Hughes, director of Counseling, Testing and Career services, was instrumental in obtaining a mini grant from the Arkansas Drug Free Youth program from the State of Arkansas. The grant provided funds to pay for the Wellness T-shirts and programs that cost money for the university to provide. Gentry appreciated Hughes' work.
“Without the grant it would have been a good fair but with the extra funding it was great,” Gentry said.
The number of guests is hard to keep up with since so many students fail to register.
“We actually had 395 registered guests and not everyone registers so there was probably more in attendance,” Gentry said.
Guests could participate in drawings at any one of the 25 booths. Area businesses, university organizations and state agencies provided free cholesterol, diabetes, hearing and body mass index screenings.
Most booths were decorated with balloons, colorful backgrounds and attractive pamphlets to entice guests to participate. The division of nursing had student nurses asking guests to feel the simulated breasts to find three lumps.
“It is very hard to know exactly what a lump can feel like in a breast. The true anatomy of a breast is lumpy. So, by feeling of a simulated breast people are able to know what a significant lump feels like, it is easier to recognize a lump,” senior nursing major Amanda Rogers said.
Men should also examine the simulated breasts.
“Men can also have breast cancer too so it is important for them to examine the lumps. There have been men who have been able to detect changes in their partner’s breast too,” Rogers said.
Though most students already know the dangers of driving drunk, some still fail to heed the warnings. The Arkansas State Police in cooperation with Farm Bureau Insurance attempted to drive these messages home with its Virtual Intoxication Program, held in front of the University Center in conjunction with the Wellness Fair.
Students donned "drunk goggles" and did their best to pilot a golf cart around an obstacle-laden course. To complicate things, Arkansas State Trooper Morris Knight rode shotgun and tried to confuse the driver.
The crowd laughed hysterically as the driver did appear to be wobbling and could not keep from knocking over the obstacle cones. Some students were still wobbling after taking off the goggles in an attempt to regain their composure.
While many of the events were fun and provided an escape from class stresses, the real issue surrounding the fair was to promote healthy living. Guests were encouraged to seek medical attention if their medical screening did not fair well.
© The Voice, 2005
Revised 050311 http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_15/fair.htm