Smoothie recipes, free flu vaccines, gardening tips, and mental health support were among the many resources found at the inaugural Healthy Campus celebration.
At least 500 students, staff, and faculty attended the health fair near the bell tower on Thursday, Oct. 11. The two-hour program offered the campus community an opportunity to connect with at least 40 departments and Healthy Campus projects that offer services to support healthier living.
UCR’s Healthy Campus project is part of the University of California Health Campus Network, which involves all 10 UC campuses. The goal is to create partnerships between students, staff, and faculty in order to offer a sustainable environment for a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle.
“Our goal is to create a healthy campus culture and a working and learning environment for our faculty, staff, and students,” said Julie Chobdee, Wellness Program coordinator.
Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey attended the inaugural event in an effort, as he described it, to lead by example. He wanted all Riverside residents – including UCR’s students, staff, and faculty – to know the city also has programs in place to support wellness.
“It’s great to partner and bridge our populations in order to connect them with resources,” Bailey said. “I encourage everyone to also step off campus and experience the rest of Riverside.”
Chobdee and Ann Cheney, co-chairs of UCR’s Healthy Campus project, said they were happy with the results and excited to have the mayor’s support, as well that of other university partners such as Staff Assembly and Academic Senate.
Academic Senate Chair Dylan Rodriguez said a partnership with Healthy Campus makes sense because physical, mental, and emotional health, are issues that impact everyone.
Rodriguez explained that the success of a cultural and institutional change, based on recommendations made by the Healthy Campus advisory committee, requires the involvement of both the faculty and UCR’s leadership. Three areas that need immediate attention are:
- Eliminating food insecurity among students.
- Institutionalizing healthy living, which means offering classrooms that are in pristine conditions, or things as simple as adding resource information to a syllabus.
- Understanding Healthy Campus and the practices the entire campus needs to adopt.
“The emotional and physiological health of our students, staff, and faculty is a fundamental responsibility for a public university,” Rodriguez said.
Health fair participants visited the different booths to learn about everything from healthy eating options to ergonomics, as well as exercises employees can implement throughout the day at their desks.
Athletics set up game booths, and the UCR School of Medicine offered free blood pressure checkups, glucose tests, and flu vaccines.
Matthew O’Hara, a first-year medical student, decided to get a flu shot. Third-year business major Melanie De la Torre stopped by the R’Garden booth and took home a succulent plant.
People who want to run or walk for exercise can use the track near the Student Recreation Center. It is available every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., said Athletics Director Tamica Smith Jones.
Kenia Reyes, a multimedia coordinator with Multimedia Technologies, visited several booths where she picked up good health tips – and cool swag, she said.
“I also got my blood-sugar level checked and was happy to know it was normal,” Reyes said as she walked passed the Healthy Eating booth where participants were taking turns peddling a stationary bike that powered a blender. The result: a chocolate peanut-butter smoothie.
Sophia Jurisch, an analyst with the Department of Statistics, said she and her colleagues took a lunch break to visit the fair.
“I learned that I should move every hour and learned standing and sitting exercises,” Jurisch said after a discussion with the ergonomics team.