Hectic schedules and youthful confidence can lead students to neglect basic health needs. Since students might not find time to go to the Student Health Center to get a flu shot, the Student Health Center brought them straight to the students Tuesday on the Rock during the Student Health Fair.
Organized by Health Outreach Peer Educators (HOPE), the event showcased every health resource on campus. There were 15 departments represented, including the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center, Pier 21, Counseling Outreach Peer Education, pre-health honor societies and many others.
The table providing flu shots was particularly busy, with many students taking advantage of the opportunity to get a free vaccination.
“It’s easy to get a shot and it’s good as it prevents yourself and others from getting the flu,” sophomore Vivien Chen said. “Setting up an event like this brings more awareness, visually. People who walk by, they may not think of topics like this, but by walking by, it gives them a reason to think of it.”
Each department offered initiatives to improve students’ health and welfare. The University of Miami Police Department taught self-defense tactics and other ways to prevent harm, and the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center offered free massages and gave out educational material on quitting smoking.
“I always use Mark Twain’s quote with regards to stopping smoking,” Mohammad Asad, a certified tobacco treatment specialist and coordinator of the BeSmokeFree program at UM, said. “He said, ‘Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. It’s just the thought of it.’ It took him a thousand times. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but we do offer group therapy and group counseling.”
Asad displayed two pairs of model lungs at the fair as part of his presentation. One set was healthy and red, and the other was blackened and full of tar to represent the lungs of a smoker.
Avisha Gopalakrishna, a student intern of communications at HOPE, said the fair’s location highlighted the role of HOPE in the education of the campus community.
“It’s free, in the middle of campus and takes less than five minutes to do. We hope to bring convenience in all health aspects,” she said.