Wellfest encourages healthier lifestyles

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Jan Ramesh, a junior in bio chemistry and finance, receives a massage from Jeff Timmons during the Wellness Fest outside the FAC Wednesday afternoon. Wellness Fest brings representatives from University and Austin-area groups together in order to promote student well-being.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Students received free health advice ranging from vision screening and safe sex kits, to nutrition information and free relaxation massages Wednesday at the Flawn Academic Center.

Susan Hochman, University Health Services interim assistant manager, said the 35th annual Wellfest was a fun way for UHS to promote health and well-being on campus. Approximately 37 campus and community organizations participated in the event, which lasted from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“We want students to be healthy and for them to know that there are a ton of resources available in order to stay healthy,” Hochman said. “In order for students to be really successful, they need to practice good health. If they are not sleeping and eating healthily then they are not going to perform well academically.”

Center for Students in Recovery representative Austin Berry was at the event to promote the group’s work supporting addiction recovery.

“Hopefully I can reach out to somebody who either knows somebody battling a drug addiction, or even if that person has an addiction, and encourage them to get help,” he said. “We provide a safe place to go on Tuesdays, have a great network of friends, and just have a great time being sober.”

Student Health Advisory Committee senior Stephanie Bradley invited students to wash away their stress by writing down stressful thoughts on a piece of paper and watch it disappear with a “magic wand” to dissolve each stressful thought in a bowl of water.

“Having a healthy way to reduce stress, rather than drugs or alcohol, is so important for students during your college years, ” Bradley said. “It can be one of the most stressful times in your life, especially if you’ve just transferred in as a freshman or are applying to graduate school.”

Passers-by were drawn in by the island sounds of the UT Steel Pan Ensemble, performing calypso interpretations of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and The Naked and Famous’s “Young Blood”.

Ensemble director David Saad said all students needed a creative outlet, such as music, as a way to reduce stress.

“The music we play is so hard to listen to without a smile on your face, just because it makes you think of the Caribbean,” Saad said. “It’s just so much fun, and being fun is an essential part of being healthy.”