Students pet a dog at last weekend’s Wellness Fair, which promoted student well-being in a high stress college environment.
Photo by Luke Payne
By Nicole Mitchell
“I think it’s really important to balance school with wellness and happiness and health, and that’s hard to do when you’re constantly so busy,” said junior Elana Lambert, referencing the common perception of Lawrence University students being busy to the point of neglecting personal wellness.
Though Lambert may be right about our campus culture of busyness being unhealthy, there are also many campus-sponsored opportunities to counteract the damage. One such opportunity was the Wellness Fair, which took place on Thursday, Oct. 15 in the Warch Campus Center. According to Director of Wellness and Recreation Erin Buenzli, the fair “provides an opportunity to see the wide variety of wellness opportunities and connections both on campus and off campus. It also allows the community to come on campus and interact with our students and share with them their insight and resources about wellness.”
The annual event, which is in its sixth year, boasted 39 tables run by organizations addressing all dimensions of wellness. Groups representing the Appleton community, such as Planned Parenthood and Happy Bellies Bake Shop made up the majority of tables. They were joined by seven campus offices and five student organizations. Free flu shots and chair massages were also available for Lawrence students, staff and faculty. Sophomore Eli Cauley, who stopped by the fair to take advantage of the flu shots, said he enjoyed his experience at the rest of the fair “because there were dogs there.”
Among the student organizations present was Sustainable Lawrence University Garden (SLUG). Lambert, who helped students at SLUG’s booth make tea with herbs from the garden, felt the fair went well. “It seemed successful because the people I talked to seemed really genuinely interested,” she said, adding that “it was nice to meet people from the community, especially because I feel that students can take fuller advantage of all the opportunities we have for wellness.”
Lawrence University for Sexual Health (LUSH) was another group with a table at the Wellness Fair. Junior and co-president of LUSH Erin MacLaughiln said the organization chose to participate because “we’re really trying to get our name out there because we’re a new organization.” In regards to raising awareness, MacLaughlin felt the Wellness Fair was a success. “A lot of people came through. I gave out a lot of buttons and condoms,” she said.
Yet, MacLaughlin also expressed concerns about the other organizations at the Wellness Fair. In particular, she was surprised by the presence of Woman Kind, a women’s health clinic that explicitly discourages women from having abortions, no matter what their situation is. “I did think it was interesting that Woman Kind was there,” MacLaughlin stated. Since Planned Parenthood, a more pro-choice organization, was also present, MacLaughlin said “It made me wonder if the Wellness Center knew what kind of clinic Woman Kind was. I was kind of disappointed to see them there.”