UHCS health program offers free wellness products to students

By Jacqueline Schafer

A program that aims to boost physical activity, improve nutrition and hydration in students debuted on Monday, Oct. 21.

The University Health and Counseling Services will present “WELLU” a four-week, peer-led health program that is a fantastic way for students to learn how to be healthier,” UHCS Wellness Coordinator Whitney Henley said.

Students who participate in the program attend one 30-minute educational session each week.  At each session the students are given information about a health topic and a card to track their progress. The students must bring their filled out cards back to each subsequent session to receive fitness prizes.

“The sessions will be 15 minutes of me talking and then giving out educational packets about the community of Whitewater and useful tips,” senior Nate Larson said. Larson is the designer of the program and works closely with Henley.

“Nate is the perfect student leader for WellU,” Henley said.  “Not only is he passionate about wellness, he has been an active member of the Student Health Advisory Committee. He is the fearless leader of this program.”

The program’s introductory week began this past Monday and continues through Friday, Oct. 25. During this week, students can sign up and take a pre-test. The education sessions begin on Monday, Oct. 28, and continue until Wednesday, Nov. 20. The education sessions are held each week in the University Center on Mondays from 3-4 p.m., Tuesdays from noon-2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to noon. The various sessions provide many opportunities for students to participate and also give students a chance to receive free tools to achieve better health.

“When they come in, we give them a packet, but also a pedometer and a resistance band,” Larson said. “Which, by itself, is about $20 worth of stuff the first time they can come.  And that’s really just promoting physical activity. If they’re going to come and get them and not join the program, that’s fine with us. If you have the tools, you’ll use them.”

During the four weeks, participants also will receive measuring cups, a sandwich buddy, a water bottle, a draw string bag and, upon completion of the program, a t-shirt. Altogether, the cost of the items is about $50 but will be given to participants for free.

The program stemmed from a conference at the University of Nevada, Reno that Henley and Larson attended this past summer.

“This program has been successfully used to increase physical activity, nutrition, hydration and planned meals,” Larson said.

Although the University of Nevada was the first to use this program, the idea has spread to many other campuses as well.

“Students from other universities have really gotten a lot out of similar programs,” Henley said. “The WellU program is very successful because it is a student run program, and students tend to know what other students need.”

Students who want to participate in the program should contact Larson at [email protected] by Friday, Oct. 25.