Although Valentine’s Day might normally be a time for exchanging candy and paper hearts, students also learned about their flesh-and-blood hearts Monday.
Students who wandered to the Spanish Oaks Terrace near Jester learned about the importance of cardiovascular fitness from five student organizations through various carnival games such as “pin the heart on the human” and activities such as jumping rope and Hula-Hooping. New members of the Natural Sciences Council organized the event to promote a healthy heart and raised $725 for the American Heart Association.
“We wanted to raise awareness on campus of heart disease because it’s the No. 1 leading cause of death in the U.S., and lots of people at the collegiate age don’t know that,” said biology freshman and organizer Juan Herrejon.
He said many college students do not normally associate the lack of exercise and heart conditioning with heart disease later in life.
“We think that it’s important for students to know that, so they can start taking steps to prevent it now, so they have a greater chance of living a longer, healthier life,” Herrejon said.
Herrejon said the carnival came at a perfect time to coincide with American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day. The council sold carnations and hot chocolate to go along with the healthy hearts theme and to benefit scientific research and education in communities through the American Heart Association.
UT’s Science Undergraduate Research Group gave away healthy snacks, such as granola bars and raisins, if students answered heart-related trivia correctly. The College of Natural Science’s Dean’s Scholars talked to students about being organ donors.
Rezwana Rahman, psychology and premed junior and Student Health Advisory Committee member, said too much stress can lead to high blood pressure which can lead to heart disease later in life.
“The biggest thing right now is stress and anxiety and how it is so prominent in the college-age group, so we came up with a symbolic thing of writing your stress on magic paper and dissolving it away,” Rahman said.
UT Nursing Students Association members gave blood pressure assessments. Vanessa Castellon, nursing senior and UTNSA vice president, advised students to monitor their blood pressure at an annual checkup.
“It’s easier to manage if you catch it early on than having heart disease later on,” Castellon said.