The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s University Health and Counseling Services held its annual Wellness Fair in the Hamilton Room at the University Center on Oct. 15.
The Wellness Fair had a lot to offer to students this year, including a cooking demonstration, therapy dogs and foster dogs to play with, lots of free giveaways and a multitude of other activities. The University Health and Counseling Services(UHCS) holds the Wellness Fair every year in an effort to get students exposed to the services the UHCS provides.
“The University’s ultimate goal is to support students, maybe academically, but they need their basic needs met, and that means being well physically and mentally,” said Erica Fischer, wellness director at UHCS. “Under that bigger goal, it’s about getting students connected to the services here on campus. Making them aware that most if not all the services are free, and we are here to support them.”
The fair had a big increase in attendance this year as well, with a goal of reaching 400 students the UHCS crushed it with 525 students in attendance. Fischer and her co-worker, Hannah Foley, the wellness educator at the UHCS, were surprised and excited at how long students were staying at the fair and soaking up more information.
“We were really surprised to see people actually staying,” said Foley. “I would see students in there for over an hour and was happy to see people staying, retaining information and relaxing.”
Along with the activities mentioned above, the UHCS gave away plants for students to take care of and had a painting station set up to paint pots for the plants. Mental health screenings were also available, as well as a scavenger hunt where students could win gift cards to local businesses. Activities like these are meant to make students feel more relaxed and at home while away at school, something that can mean a lot when you’re away from home for long periods of time.
“So many people can feel homesick, and just seeing an animal or seeing a friendly face or eating some good food, that can mean the absolute world for them,” said Foley.