Self-Care fair educates students about wellness

H.E.A.L., USC Hillel, Residential Student Government and Residential Education sponsored a Self-Care fair for the first time in Alumni Park Thursday to make wellness more accessible for the student body. Over 25 campus organizations participated and brought their own answers to the question, “What does wellness mean to you?”

Ashley Seruya, the student coordinator of the Self-Care fair, said she wanted to bring in a wellness initiative on campus for students.

“I am a senior, and I’ve had mental issues myself that I had to deal with,” Seruya said. “I know that USC does have a health program; we got the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion and the Engemann [Student Health] Center. The University is doing a lot to make health a priority. But it is still very difficult to access them on a day-to-day basis and to know where to go.”

In an attempt to educate students about maintenance and self-care and to promote in the community a feeling of wellness on campus, Seruya reached out to Hillel, RSG and Residential Education to help. According to Seruya, Hillel has already received a grant and was looking for social work students to take over and to promote programs centering on wellness on campus.

“My idea is that H.E.A.L. with Hillel is going to be an umbrella program for wellness initiatives on campus,” Seruya said.

The self-care fair was followed up by H.E.A.L. with Hillel’s L’Briyut: Health and Wellness Art Expo and Open Mic from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Students reacted positively to the fair as they shared their ideas of wellness. Ryan Covington, a junior majoring in real estate development, spoke about what wellness means to him. According to Covington, wellness allows him to be the best version of himself.

“Wellness means everything to me. I grew up as a swimmer, and taking care of my body has been my number one priority,” Covington said. “I try to extend this message to people because there are so many things going on in our days and it is hard to combat that. So when you have that personal time, you can feed yourself, work out and take care of your overall body — this allows you to combat anything that comes your way.”

During the fair, students were encouraged to visit as many booths as possible. They were given stamp cards; students with five stamps received free healthy snacks from Amazebowls and Urban Espresso, and students with 10 stamps were entered in a raffle to win a basket of wellness goodies.

Amy Zhao, a junior majoring in global health and occupational science, participated in the fair as a representative of Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles. She shared the best moments at the fair.

“It is really cool to tell people about the myths and the facts about Alzheimer’s and how wellness is so important even in college,” Zhao said. “This fair has been great. This covers so many aspects of wellness, and people seem to be really enjoying all the activities out here.”

Zhao said wellness has the potential to improve people’s lifestyles.

“I think about health and wellness in occupational therapy perspective, which is that you don’t have to be physically well to have wellness,” Zhao said. “It is the idea that you are in control of your own choices and your own happiness.”