From studying and test-taking to finding the elusive work/life balance, college is crammed so full of rapid-fire new experiences that self-care often falls to the bottom of the to-do list. To remedy this, JWU Providence Health Education — in collaboration with multiple university departments, including Human Resources and Counseling Services — holds an annual Good Life Expo to actively engage the greater JWU community around issues of health and wellness.
This year’s Expo was the biggest yet, with 40+ vendors, raffle prizes, snacks and flu shots for students, faculty and staff.
JWU Providence Athletics lent the use of the Wildcat Center main gym, and sponsors like Performance Food Group (presenting sponsor), Cambro Manufacturing, Elite Physical Therapy and others brought food, advice and plenty of giveaways for students.
Wellness isn’t just about eating right or getting enough exercise — it spans all facets of our lives, from our emotional and physical well-being to our intellectual and environmental welfare.
We hope everyone who attends is inspired to enhance their health in a positive way.”
The Expo’s vendors were carefully chosen to address these crucial aspects of our holistic health. Samples of plant-based foods, fruit and healthy snacks were plentiful — most food vendors also gave away coupons and other incentives to encourage healthier choices.
Grace and Callie of the JWU Providence Nutrition Society brought toys representing proper portions (a single portion of pasta is roughly fist-sized, while a cheese portion should equal roughly 4 stacked dice), as well as an electronic device for measuring body fat. (A number of students picked it up and promptly put it down again, not quite wanting to know.) Both the Nutrition Society and Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI brought handouts with practical advice about portion control, safe microwave usage, understanding nutrition facts and good vs. bad fats. (Can you name all four major dietary fats?)
JWU Providence Counseling Services, DayOne, JWU Providence Gender Equity Center and ASK! Educators (a JWU peer-to-peer student education group) were on hand to share information about their outreach services, volunteer opportunities and ongoing initiatives. Occupational Therapy students answered questions about the program and gave out #JWUOTD-branded stress balls. (OTD students also assisted with event set-up, implementation and break-down.)
On the topics of sexual education and LGBTQ+ empowerment, AIDS Project RI, the Center for Sexual Pleasure & Health and Planned Parenthood had front-line tables staffed by educators who were ready to answer questions and give out safe-sex supplies.
Plenty of visitors took advantage of the acupuncture and massage booths — who doesn’t need a mid-week recharge? And the flu shot booths hosted a steady stream of students and staff alike.
“We hope everyone who attends is inspired to enhance their health and well-being in a positive way,” notes Kristen Buglione, JWU Providence’s director of Health Education. “The best part is seeing how happy not only the participants are to be there, but the vendors as well. So many of them comment to us on how much they love interacting with our students.”
While the Good Life Expo is a great one-stop shop for all things wellness-related, Buglione emphasizes that wellness resources are available year-round for students: “Attend fitness classes, visit health and counseling services, get involved with organizations and groups.”
Taking time each day for a mini-break or wellness treat is crucial, too: “Get plenty of sleep, eat a variety of fresh foods available across campus in our dining facilities, but don’t forget to venture off campus, too! There are so many local resources that can provide support for you.” Her final word of advice? “Oh, and get a flu shot!”