By MINDY MAULDIN
Imitation chocolate, protein shake samples, free back massages and the old familiar tar-covered model smoker’s lung were part of a diverse presentation Tuesday, April 5 at the second annual Health and Wellness Fair.
The event, sponsored by UMW Dining Services, featured 15 vendors and community groups that shared informational and commercial exhibits in the Dome Room of Seacobeck Hall.
Dining Services Marketing Specialist Lyndsay Geyer invited a wide range of organizations to make exhibits in order to represent a holistic view of wellness and appeal to a diverse audience.
“We tried to mix it up,” Geyer said. “We wanted it to attract different kinds of students, so it wasn’t all about food, or all about being active.”
The first and most information-rich table was manned by Mary Washington Healthcare. The exhibit featured model body parts and a germ-detecting machine called the Glitter Bug. The table explained the hospital’s impressive smoking-cessation program, which is free to the public.
Appealing to sports enthusiasts were the Sport&Health club and the Vitamin Shoppe. Fredericksburg’s downtown Salon 730 represented beauty care, informing students of their 10% student discount.
Bill Greenlaw, the owner of the Pantry Shelf Natural Foods & Gourmet Grocery, introduced students to carob, a natural, healthier chocolate substitute. Other food exhibitors included General Mills Inc., Kellogg NA Co. and Lipton.
Total Health Chiropractic Center’s free massages were a particularly big hit, generating a constant waiting line.
A UMW table on STD prevention and birth control presented a clever game that demonstrated the high risks that accompany unprotected sex.
Participants picked a folded slip of paper out of a basket, that had one of many possible health outcomes of one night of unprotected sex.
Two exhibitors presented on emotional and spiritual wellness: the drug and suicide intervention nonprofit To Write Love On Her Arms, and the UMW student religious group InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Geyer estimated that at least 300 students and faculty attended, a higher number of attendees than at last year’s fair.
“I was definitely happy with what the vendors brought,” she said. “It looked even better than my expectations.”
The fair wasn’t unique to UMW, although Dining Services was able to plan the specifics of the event, Geyer explained. The annual Health and Wellness Fair is a national, mandatory event at all Sodexo institutions.
Although the Dome Room was milling with attendees all afternoon, Geyer hopes future fairs will be even more successful.
“My hopes for next year are that we can really get some vendors in here that students will get excited about,” she said.