Graphic by Lauren Arendt

May isn’t just for midterms. It’s also for focusing on health and well-being.

At Cal Poly, May is now a campus-wide health and wellness challenge called 31 Days of Wellness. The event, hosted by the Health and Wellness Center, is a collaboration between Genie Kim, the director of health and wellbeing, and Health Center interns.

The event will tackle all six aspects of well-being — community, physical, emotional, professional, financial and social. Each week of May will focus on these themes with professional and financial well-being combined in one week. The whole month will be made into a campus-wide activity to help promote these messages.

The challenges
According to Kim, students, faculty and staff may sign up individually or as a team to participate in daily challenges and events. At the end of the month, those with the most stamps on their stamp card will receive prizes.

The challenge committee will email a weekly list of challenges to participants. The committee will also update their blog regularly to inform students about the health factors of the challenges.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in events, Kim said. However, only registered participants are eligible to receive prizes.

Every day of the week there will be an event corresponding with the weekly themes. Campus clubs, community resources and professors will all be contributing in their areas of expertise relating to the theme.

The events include resource fairs, yoga lessons, professional workshops and more.

The goal for the events to teach the campus community how to actively maintain health in each realm. As Kim said, all are important to the bigger picture of well-being and self care.

One series of activities during 31 Days of Wellness is called Learn at Lunch. Every Thursday in May, the library committee and the health center will host a speaker to lecture. The first of these will be May 4 with Mayor Heidi Harmon speaking about her visions for community well-being.

Harmon said she intends to speak about the importance of self care along with how climate change is an important factor in communities across the globe.

“I think [community wellness] runs the gamut of some smaller self care issues like people that are healthy and exercising and especially in our community, utilizing our amazing open space for exercise and just being nature,” Harmon said. “But I also think it includes things like addressing our changing climate in a way that is meaningful.”

Class collaborations
As for physical, emotional and nutritional aspects of health, the event committee partnered up with several professors, some of whom incorporated the event into their classes.

Nutrition lecturer and Dietetic Intern Coordinator Kati Fosselius gave her students the opportunity to get real-life nutrition coaching experience. Thirty-six of her students will help coach event participants on healthy eating habits as a way to prepare for their internships, Kim said.

In addition, the Health and Wellness Center teamed up with kinesiology professor Christine Hackman who teaches Health Program Implementation and Evaluation as a second part of a health program class series.

Hackman’s students developed pre-test and post-test surveys for registered participants of the month-long challenge. The students will evaluate the data and compare it to goals set by the committee to see if the challenge was beneficial or what improvements need to be made for the following years.

“It really is a Learn by Doing experience. I set up hypothetical situations in our labs, but this [challenge analysis] is really like ‘OK, this is real. We need to do this. We need to do what the client is asking for.’ So, I think that this gives [my students] insight to be like, ‘This is what it feels like.’  I think it’s invaluable,” Hackman said.

Beyond Student Services
Career Services is another large collaborator for the month; they will be hosting workshops for staff and faculty as well as for students to provide
additional resources.

“We have 25,000 people just on our campus, including students, staff and faculty,” Kim said. “And we want to make sure that every single one of those individuals gets connected [with what] they would need to be happy and healthy.”

Registration is open to all individuals and teams and will remain open throughout the month. The committee also welcomes any club or community facility to reach out to them at any point during the month if they feel their service is applicable to health and wellness in order to get a booth at certain events. The health and wellness center will update their calendar as the month progresses.

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