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BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Fair gives students sense of reality

For more than a decade, Student Health Services and the Wellness Connection have sponsored the annual health fair to serve as a wake-up call to raise awareness about various health issues.

At yesterday’s fair, 40 organizations’ display tables lined the Union Ballroom and offered individuals informational materials, food and even free testing services during the five-hour event.

With the surge in popularity of reality television shows in recent years, organizers of the health fair felt the theme — Reality Check 2005 — would add some flavor to the event. Many of the exhibitor’s display tables were decorated to resemble shows such as the “Amazing Race,” “Survivor” and “Real World.”

Planning for the annual event started in January when Amy Sheldrick, administrative secretary of the Wellness Connection, began contacting organizations that have participated in the past and tried to find new ones.

Sheldrick, in her ninth year organizing the fair, said it’s a big project, but the health fair is a different, more enjoyable way to bring attention to health issues.

“Sometimes it’s hard to make people listen to information about their health, so we try to make it a little more fun,” she said.

A new addition to the fair this year was an exhibit by the Wood County Eye and Glaucoma Center that offered free glaucoma screening. Glaucoma is a condition involving the optic nerve and is most commonly associated with high pressure in the eye, said Dr. Christina Pacio Tam.

The disease has the potential to cause blindness, but can be treated if found at an early stage.

“This type of screening is important to pick [glaucoma] up early because it’s treatable,” Tam said.

An organization that has participated in the fair for many years is the Wood County Health Department and AIDS Task Force. Both educational and visual, their display pertained to topics popular among many college students — tattoos and piercing.

The health department provides licenses for tattoo and body piercers in Wood County and wants to ensure individuals go to licensed facilities, said Amy Jones, infectious disease nurse at the health department.

Students who get a tattoo or piercing from a place that is not licensed put themselves at risk for diseases, Jones said, because they’re not guaranteed the equipment used will be sterilized.

“In a college town, a lot of students are getting tattoos and piercings,” Jones said. “We just want them to be safe.”

Educating people about a variety of health issues and providing them with beneficial information is the mission of the health fair, said Barbara Hoffman, health promotions coordinator of the Wellness Connection.

About 1,000 people a year attend the health fair and participants are usually appreciative of the services provided, Hoffman said.

University senior Leah Miller attended the event for the first time yesterday. Majoring in dietetics, Miller was intrigued by the event’s intentions to promote awareness.

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