The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Students given information about nutrition, depression at health fair

The Klotz Student Health Center and University Counseling Services teamed up to put on the “U Matter Dor” fair in front of the Oviatt Library on Thursday.

The fair had booths along each side of the Matador Walk, with each booth representing a group and offering activities and prizes.

There was also a sheet given out that allowed students to receive a free slice of pizza and a chance to spin the prize wheel if students stopped and participated in enough booths. After participating, students were given a sticker to fill in slices of the “pizza” on the sheet.

The booths were organized into four sections: Personal Safety, Healthy Lifestyle, Relationships and Overcoming Obstacles.

The Personal Safety section featured a group called Discovering Alternatives for Today’s Encounters. DATE is a sexual assault prevention program, and members “go out and educate the campus community on how to prevent and reduce risk (and) also sparking dialogue between men and women around issues such as consent and communication,” said Sabrina Feten, coordinator for DATE.

Their booth had a game where students could spin and were then given a statement, and had to determine whether it was myth or fact. The reward was a keychain with a small light and a panic whistle, as well as a piece of candy. They also provided magnets with slogans such as “Rights, Respect, Responsibility” that students could color.

In the same section were peer educators discussing smoking cessation, tips for responsible hosting if one has a party, and the possible effects of drugs and alcohol on the body.

“We’re not telling them ‘no,’ not telling them what they shouldn’t do, just giving them information,” said Jennifer Dineen, one of the peer educators from the health center. They provided informational pamphlets, and later in the afternoon “mocktail” virgin margaritas.

Alisa Simon, a microbiology major, tried one of the mocktails. She said that she had been attracted when people at a booth further down the line started discussing tofu, something that she knew a bit about. She said that the fair was “a good idea.”

The Healthy Lifestyle section presented a group called Joint Advocates on Disordered Eating. They had a scale where the numbers had been covered by colored pieces of paper, and rather than reading a number you were given a fortune of sorts based on your color. One example was “ask for help when you need it.” They also had free mirrors that students could decorate.

There was a game similar to Jeopardy in the Safer Sex booth, with questions such as how long an egg lives in a woman’s body after ovulation (12-24 hours) and what is the most sensitive part on a man’s body (the glans, or tip of the penis). They handed out condoms and informational packets.

The last booth in the Healthy Lifestyle section was run by peer nutrition counselors from the health center. They had five-pound models of both fat and muscle, illustrating the different sizes of both. The muscle was sleek and compact, while the fat was a large blob.

The peer nutrition counselors advised healthy, balanced meals and plenty of fruits and vegetables. They said that dieting can actually lead to an increase of fat concentration rather than a loss, since the body clings to food rather than processing it for nutrients.

Nelly Mishiyevan, one of the counselors, pointed to the first three letters of “diet.”

“It’s d-i-e, and we don’t want to do that,” Mishiyevan said.

She also discouraged the recent reliance on dietary supplements. “They believe that the more they take, the healthier you are,” Mishiyevan said. Getting nutrients from real food is a much better option, she said, noting that supplements can lead to toxicity and overload issues.

The peer nutrition counselors also emphasized the importance of exercise, noting that most students don’t get enough.

Representatives from the fitness center were also at the event, providing information and a rock wall for students to climb.

Susan Snyder, the Web developer for administration and finance, also moonlights in kinesiology, teaching T’ai Chi. She was there to spread the word about her class and forms of exercise. She said that T’ai Chi is “good for those in the power walking stage,” and helps to develop flexibility, balance and breath control.

She said that one must feed their mind, body and spirit in order to be in balance, but recognized that such a thing is often difficult for college students. She said that her one-unit class could give students a place to relax and try to reach that balance.

There was also the Blues Project, which involves peer counselors dedicated to preventing suicide and helping students overcome depression. At that booth, students could make stress balls by filling balloons with sugar.

There was a speed-meeting booth, where students were given cards with ice-breaking questions on them, and sent in to do rotations with others.

“It’s a place where they can safely meet new people, maybe overcome the obstacle of being shy and get involved,” said Beau Fournier, an intern from the health center who majors in health education.

Fournier was running the prize booth, which offered a variety of things, from an apple to movie tickets to a CD player. He was one of the organizers of the event, and estimated that nearly 600 people participated in the health fair.

Sharon Aronoff, a health educator with the student health center, was pleased with the turnout. She said that the health center has had fairs in many locations around campus, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

The Matador Walk was “a wonderful location,” Aronoff said. “We have traffic coming from the library, from the east, from the west, it’s great.” She said that moving around also lets the center reach different students, since different groups tend to be clustered in their various buildings.

For more information on any of the groups at the fair, contact the Klotz Student Health Center or University Counseling Services, located on the fifth floor of Bayramian Hall.

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