With the goal of promoting healthy habits on campus, the Wellness Education Bandits hosted Pleasurefest 2013 in the University Forum on March 28.
The event's slogan was, "Everyone is looking for a little pleasure... but are you looking in the right place?" and advertised events such as puppy petting, a condom pinata and mini exercise classes.
The Wellness Education Bandits is a new organization on campus run by Slade Gormus at the Student Health Center, said senior Jaclyn Pierce, a member of the organization. It is a peer health education group that works to promote healthy behaviors on campus, Pierce said.
The "Bandits," as Gormus said they were called, helped with this year's flu shot clinic and recently helped get information out about the mumps outbreak on campus. The student members are an important liaison between students and the Health Center, Gormus said.
Many other universities have big health fairs every year to promote healthy habits on campus, Pierce said, and the Bandits wanted to do the same. Because the organization is starting from scratch, Gormus said, its members decided to put together a big program at the end of the year, which became Pleasurefest.
"When we planned this, we thought that March 28 would be 75 degrees and sunny," Gormus said. "I'm going to save the condom pinata for a condom caravan until a warmer day."
Gormus did most of the organizing for the event, while the students did the planning and promoting around campus, Pierce said. During the event, members of the organization sat at different tables in the Forum and the hanging lounge in Tyler Hanes Commons.
"Since it is our first year, we really wanted to get people's attention and kind of arouse curiosity about what the fair is, which is why we chose the name 'Pleasurefest,'" Pierce said.
After much group discussion, the members came up with a "Seven Deadly Sins" theme, she said. However, instead of each sin being negative, it would be a positive healthy habit, she said.
The sins-turned-healthy theme included a "sloth" station that advocated exercise and healthy sleeping habits, a "gluttony" station that promoted good nutrition and a "greed" station that promoted mobile apps to help control spending. Even with the windy conditions, many students walking by stopped to get more information and participate in the various activities.
In the hanging lounge in THC, the Health Center offered free STI and STD testing to students. A new service called "Chexout" is also being offered to students. Chexout allows students to receive their test results in a text message but only if their results are negative, said Jim Ivey, a representative from Chexout.
"If your tests results are partially positive or positive, we don't see the results, nothing is uploaded and you get a call from the Health Center with the results and treatment options," Ivey said.
Chexout is the first service of its kind and has been around for four years, Ivey said. The service took about two years to set up, Ivey said, and has been working with student health centers and local health organizations around the country for two years.
Students walking by the STI and STD testing stations were making remarks such as, "better safe then sorry," and "no chance I would have one... yes there is," said Ivey.
Along with information and testing stations, the event featured games and activities. At one table, students had to guess how many calories are in certain meals at the dining hall, and at the "safe saloon," students could test their alcohol-pouring skills.
"The idea is that you can still participate in pleasurable activities, be healthy about it and not feel guilty," Pierce said.
There was also an unadvertised surprise at the condom caravan that students and faculty alike stopped to contemplate: a dress made completely from condoms.
Contact reporter Anika Kempe at firstname.lastname@example.org