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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Fair promotes wellness culture

    Joan Schlimgen, a yoga and pilates instructor at the UMC Health and Wellness Center, gives a chair yoga class yesterday morning at the Well University Day in the SUMC.
    Joan Schlimgen, a yoga and pilates instructor at the UMC Health and Wellness Center, gives a chair yoga class yesterday morning at the Well University Day in the SUMC.

    The UA Well University Partnership held its second fair yesterday to promote healthy lifestyles and develop a wellness culture in the UA community.

    The “”Here’s to Your Health!”” event brought together different organizations that provided wellness screenings, fitness alternatives and chair yoga in the Student Union Memorial Center’s North Grand Ballroom.

    “”It’s really important to let the university know that we care about health for employees and students,”” said Valerie Sotardi , one of the representatives at the event and the office specialist for UA Life and Work Connections.

    Free sushi, smoothies and quiche were served during the event and gave attendees a better idea of healthy alternatives.

    “”I think it’s great that they’re doing this; there are a lot of healthy food options,”” said Teri Karobonik, a creative writing sophomore. “”I love Farmers’ Market, but I didn’t know there was all this other stuff.””

    Students and faculty weren’t the only ones to attend. Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup made an appearance, and even got a taste of free sushi.

    “”I have a commitment to wellness, and I live what I support,”” Walkup said. “”People need to be aware of good health, and I’m glad to see strong support throughout the university community in getting everyone together.””

    Celina Reyes, another representative at the event and assistant program coordinator for the Farmers’ Market, was also glad that the university was taking part in promoting wellness.

    “”It’s a wonderful thing, and it’s a great opportunity for people to know that these are out here and offering different options to a healthy lifestyle,”” Reyes said.

    The Well University Partnership is made up of a number of different departments on campus: the Arizona Health Sciences Library, UA Life and Work Connections, the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Research Computing and Learning Technologies, Campus Health Services, Campus Recreation, Partner Outreach and the SUMC.

    The Well University Partnership held a similar event last year. Gale Welter, a founding member of the partnership, is excited that everyone is still together and involved.

    “”I believe this is the right thing to do,”” Welter said. “”It takes time for a grassroots initiative to build up and grow, but this is just one more step in promoting health and wellness on campus.””

    The event also had a number of speakers to discuss health issues and the different perspectives of wellness people hold on campus.

    President Robert Shelton was one of the speakers and said it was exciting for him to get involved in a growing organization.

    “”It promotes (health) awareness, not just in a negative, but in a positive manner,”” Shelton said. “”We get reports of obesity cases and it’s just negative, but this sends a positive message that it doesn’t have to be this way.””

    Tim Lohman, chair of the partnership, said in a society where children are less active and people are suffering from heart disease or obesity, it is important to work life around exercise and a healthy lifestyle instead of just fitting it in.

    Welter is hopeful that the partnership will grow and that every department on campus will become a partner to promote employee initiatives.

    “”Well U wants to bring everyone together under one umbrella organization so that everyone will know what other organizations are working on and collaborate together,”” said Garry Forger, a member of the partnership’s leadership team.

    New exercise stations on way

    Before the event, the Student Health Advisory Committee, which serves as a liaison between students and Campus Health through Associated Students of the University of Arizona, broke ground in front of the UA Main Library to celebrate the construction of new fitness stations around campus.

    Eighteen new stations will be constructed out of heat-resistant steel, and each will have an introduction sign and five directional posts pointing users to the next station.

    The original wood fitness stations were constructed in January 1979. Of the original 18, seven are left.

    Cherilyn Gain, director of the health advisory committee and the UA-FIT committee, said construction had destroyed much of the original stations, and the remaining stations were left to age without maintenance.

    Gain took on the project three years ago and, with other members of the advisory committee, helped raise $30,000 for the construction.

    “”The new stations are not just for the UA, but for everyone,”” Gain said. “”People feel comfortable exercising here, and some people have actually raised their children on an exercise routine that included the original stations.””

    The advisory committee conducted a student survey and found that a majority of the 700 participants wanted an outdoor fitness trail, Gain said.

    The old stations will be torn down on April 30, and installation of the new stations are scheduled to be installed a week after graduation.

    Gain said the stations will be completed during the summer and will be ready for students in the fall.

    “”I’m really excited,”” said Juliet Feldman, a public health freshman. “”It’s a great benefit for the campus.””

    Juliette Moore, director for campus recreation, said it was difficult for her to get funding for the new stations, and that Gain’s persistence for the initiative provided the momentum the project needed.

    “”Cherilyn was selfless and very giving,”” said Hilary Niccoli, a senior majoring in English. “”She deserves a lot of recognition.””

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