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SHS Health Fair aims to educate

The 16th annual Health Fair, organized by Student Health Services, took over the breezeway and the SHS building on Tuesday to educate students about the health issues that impact many lives.

More than 15 exhibitors were on hand to teach about topics ranging from nutrition and diabetes to overeating and hemophilia. “We hope to raise the level of awareness of health issues and the services available through Student Health Services,” said Dr. Egilda Terenzi, the director of USF Student Health Services.

Several stations were set up to give free health screenings, including vision, hearing, blood pressure, blood glucose and body composition screenings. Students whose tests produced unusual results would have the opportunity to speak with one of the on-site doctors, Terenzi said.

This year’s event was kept smaller than in previous years to allow the focus to remain on the types of services students can receive at USF, Terenzi said, but the expected attendance of approximately 1,500 was similar to past events.

Many exhibitors used the lure of prizes to entice students to the tables during the event which also featured a DJ and drawings for numerous prizes.

Renee O’Hair, a senior majoring in biomedical science, took home a $20 gift certificate to Antonio’s. She said a sign directed her to the Health Fair, an event she had never attended before despite being a USF student for a number of years.

“I think this is an excellent event,” O’Hair said. “I found out that you can get a blood pressure check at the (SHS) Annex.”

At least one student attended the event at the recommendation of his teacher. Tim Young, a junior majoring in exercise science, planned to take advantage of every screening.

Young said that it was good that SHS was holding this type of event to educate USF students.

One of the exhibitors was Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX), a USF student organization. Students in the club work to spread Planned Parenthood’s messages about topics such as reproductive rights.

Ashley Overlock, a freshman majoring in history, manned the VOX table. She said that the number of students visiting her table was high and that many were interested in the group’s mission as well as how to join.

“So far it has been great,” Overlock said. “People seem really interested in what our group does.”

Overlock added that she had not known about the nutrition classes SHS offers until she visited the tables and spoke with someone from SHS during the Health Fair.

Like Overlock, many exhibitors stayed busy throughout the event handing out literature and talking to passing students, which was a central goal of the event.

“We want to educate students and help them feel comfortable in SHS and with the staff,” Terenzi said.

SHS was closed to patients for the entire day to allow the staff to work the event.