UCI Promotes Health and Wellness

By Steven Yang

The UC Irvine Center for Student Wellness and Health Promotion (CSWPA) hosted their 10th annual Zot Health Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Pacific Ballroom in the Student Center. The fair featured over 40 booths consisting of community organizations and agencies, local businesses and student organizations.

“We hope students can discover for themselves the significance of wellness and how that applies to their academic success,” said Jasmine Blackburn, CSWPA coordinator and organizer of the event. “We hope that being engaged with all of the community agencies and vendors plants the seed so that students can have a practice of wellness in a fun and engaging way.”

Live entertainment entailed a free cooking demonstration by Anteatery Chef Kit, hula dancing by the Hawaii Club, hip-hop and dance by MCIA, and Zumba — fast-paced aerobic activity set to lively music. Furthermore, clubs such as Health Guardians of America informed students about living an active lifestyle to prevent unwanted weight gain, introducing them to their program that gave monetary incentives to encourage individuals to exercise.

Jody Margolis, a staff registered dietician nutritionist, gave additional insight into how students could live healthily by making wholesome nutrition choices.

“[Be] mindful of including plant-based foods and whole grains, trying to stay away from processed foods,” Margolis said. “A lot of times, students skip breakfast and rush off to class, so trying to keep healthy grab-and-go foods such as yogurt, boiled eggs, and string cheese, things they can grab quickly, [can be beneficial].”

Students enjoyed the event, especially interacting with school mascot Peter the Anteater and taking healthy selfies with him. Many participants of the fair clamored to see the therapy dogs, brought by Active Minds at UCI, to de-stress students before midterm exams. The organization aims to destigmatize mental health and open the dialogue about it.

“[The fair is] an important step for promoting the health and wellbeing for our students at UC Irvine,” senior Karl Nagy said. “At a time when young adults are transitioning into careers and life paths, forming healthy life habits are more important than ever for the success of students.”

Providing information about its valuable mental health resources, the UCI Counseling Center educated students about its myriad of services, which include but are not limited to stress management, relationship issues, and college adjustment.

“Don’t be afraid to use the resources that are here for you,” Mary Pat Kelly, Ph.D., senior staff psychologist at the Counseling Center said. “Adult life can be challenging and there are ways to learn how to manage it well.”