Students learn ways to stay healthy during Wellness Week
Despite a few changes and time constraints, students in HHPA classes spread awareness of physical, mental and sexual health during Wellness Week on Oct. 1-5.
“Wellness Week is designed to provide students with information and resources about specific health topics that are pertinent to college students,” said health educator Rose Sherwood, who works in Student Affairs.
A main fixture of Wellness Week is the information table in front of Walker Hall.
“[It] is meant to be a resource for students to quickly stop by on their way to class and gather helpful resources,” Sherwood said.
On the first day of Wellness Week, Oct. 1, the focus was mental health and stress management. The Counseling Center sponsored it in hopes of connecting students with ways to relieve stress and anxiety, Sherwood said.
Oct. 2 was about relationships and sexual health. Volunteers at the table passed out safer sex kits and information about healthy relationships, sexual assault, STDs and pregnancy prevention. The Consent Awareness Training Squad (CATS) program was promoted as well.
Alcohol, tobacco and drug risk reduction was the focus on Oct. 3. Tables featured information about making healthy choices about alcohol and drugs. Tobacco quit kits, with helpful tips, resources and chewing gum inside were handed out.
Oct. 4 was about physical health awareness. The major focal points of the day were vaccinations and healthy eating, Sherwood said. The Health Center ran a flu shot clinic to correspond with the theme for the day. First aid kits and “Wildcats be flu free” bracelets were available for students.
Oct. 5 was about the environment and how it affects health. Volunteers passed out information about plastics, pesticides, smoke-free venues and sustainability.
“Through this week, we hoped to have students start thinking about the health issues that may be affecting them,” Sherwood said. “We hoped to provide information about campus resources and self-care resources in a laid-back environment.
“We want students to be able to talk about these topics openly and raise questions,” Sherwood said. “We hoped that by raising awareness of important health issues, students may be inspired to seek out additional information if they need it.”
Students in the Peer Health Education Methods class, Prevention and Control of Disease class and the Responding to Emergencies class were responsible for staffing the information table and passing out resources to other students.
“My favorite Wellness Week day is tobacco and alcohol because I think it’s what affects Linfield students the most,” freshman Austin Lee said.
“I think my favorite day this week was the Sexual Health Day because I enjoyed seeing students really excited about resources being passed out and asking a lot of questions,” Sherwood said. “We were able to pass out nearly 100 safer sex kits.”
In addition to the tables for Wellness Week, students in the Health Education Methods class, along with Susan Chambers and Sherwood, conducted a week-long experiment called the Purple Plague.
The Purple Plague is an educational activity and experiment using wristbands to represent how diseases can be transmitted. In the “chain of infection,” disease can be prevented by breaking one of the links in the chain.
“The purpose of the Purple Plague is to demonstrate the transmission of communicable diseases by using wristbands to visually represent the chain of infection of a hypothetical microscopic germ,” Sherwood said.
The activity began in two of Chambers’ HHPA classes. The first wristbands were handed out to 44 students. More than 1,000 wristbands total were passed out. Students in the Human Sexuality class counted the bands at the end of the week to obtain a cross section of number of students wearing a band, Sherwood said.
Blue wristbands represented students who did not have immunity or did not use ways to prevent disease and were infected by the hypothetical disease.
People with red wristbands were the ones not affected by the disease because of immunity or previous exposure to the germ.
Green bands represented those who received vaccines and therefore were not affected.
Those with orange bracelets represented adequate hand washers. These students were hypothetically not infected because of engaging in hand washing before preparing food and after using the bathroom.
Finally, students with yellow wristbands represented those who boosted immunity by exercising frequently, getting plenty of sleep, eating well-balanced diets and avoiding close contact with those infected by the disease.
“It would be great to get more students involved and aware of the project,” Sherwood said. “It’s very important for students to be aware of disease transmission and strategies to prevent infection especially in a setting, such as Linfield where people are interacting in a very close knit community.”
Students are welcome to suggest ideas and share what they want to see done at Wellness Week.
Sherwood is available to work with students on health promotion activities they would like to see on campus.
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at