Fair encourages healthy living

USF students, staff and faculty can have experts gauge their health and fulfill their wellness needs by visiting the health fair, “Stayin’ Alive in 2005,” today in the SVC Breezeway and the Student Health Center.

“The whole idea of the health fair is just to create awareness about health and wellness issues,” senior health educator for Student Health Services and event organizer Laura Rusnak said. “Whatever our students’ wellness needs would be, they can find out there or we can refer them somewhere else.”

Hearing and vision screenings, blood tests for glucose, hemoglobin and sickle cells, as well as osteoporosis screenings are available at the fair, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Approximately 70 doctors, nurses and SHS staff will be running the event, Rusnak said.

If free check-ups and screenings aren’t enough of a reason to come, then there are plenty of other motives.

“A lot of times students just come because of the music and the free prizes,” Rusnak said. “But a lot of times you have to do things like hearing and vision to register for a door prize.”

Some door prizes include gift certificates to restaurants, free hotel stays, fitness assessments and gym memberships.

Tickets to Lowry Park Zoo and the Tampa Museum of Art are also among the 70 available prizes that will be raffled off today.

Besides T-shirts and other free stuff, there is another, more popular incentive.

“The reason I’d go is probably for the massage,” said international business student Refik Semsedin.

Be prepared — most people attending the fair will have the same intentions as Semsedin.

“Last year about 1,500 people showed up,” Rusnak said. “I would expect to wait 30 minutes to an hour (for a massage), but some people sign up for other screenings and then come back.”

Finding available time for the fair may be difficult for students because of scheduling conflicts and prior obligations.

“I don’t think it’s going to have that big of a turnout,” nursing student Shannon O’Brien said. “Because people have busy schedules, a lot of people don’t know about it, and kids our age don’t really bother to practice a healthy lifestyle.”

“I think the mentality is, ‘I’m a college kid’,” Semsedin said. “‘Let me do what I’m going to do, let me have fun, who cares five years from now?’ So there’s a lot of drinking going on, and eating pizza at 4 o’clock in the morning.”

Junior Morgan Landreth, an English major, would attend the fair today if she didn’t have a tight schedule.

“If it were at a time that I could attend, I would definitely go because it would provide me with a lot of information,” he said.

Displays and stations are expected to fill SHS and the breezeway.

“It’s a huge endeavor,” Rusnak said. “We have about 45 organizations from outside of USF that come in and we have 45 tables set up here. It’s a whole lot of people and so it takes a whole semester just to organize it.”

Aside from the fair, the Health Education Department provides outreach services on a variety of other health-related topics.

“We have alcohol awareness month coming up, sexually transmitted infection awareness coming up, so there’s always things going on,” Rusnak said. “It’s just that this is one of the bigger ones”