The Communications and Public Afairs Department held a health and safety fair at the University Center on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. Students learned a lot of useful information, including how to handle emergency situations. (Maggie Goldberg/B&W Staff)

Health and Safety Fair combines education and entertainment

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Campus offices and organizations involved with health-related issues set up booths in front of the University Center on Thursday, Sept. 12, at the fourth annual Health and Safety Fair. The fair provided students with important health information and the chance to win prizes and pet dogs and police horses.

Students could even test their balance and try to walk a straight line wearing DUI goggles.

“We’ve been getting the word out through social media, and we’ve positioned ourselves right in the middle of student traffic,” said Traci-Ann Mindler, a coordinator for the event. “The flu shots are a big draw, and we’ve been really happy with the turnout.”

Karen Sicinski, a nurse in the Health & Wellness Center, informed students about the wellness room, which provides students with complimentary medical items and is located next to the lobby of the Health & Wellness Center.

“In there, we have a variety of over-the-counter samples, including Tylenol, Advil, Band-Aids and antibiotic cream, free of charge,” Sicinski said.

Sicinski said that the wellness room is open most weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and students do not need to have an appointment to get these items. 

Cristie Cunningham, assistant director of counseling and psychological services, was at the fair to let students know about the resources offered by counseling and psychological services.

“We offer individual and group therapy at the counseling center, and we have crisis services,” Cunningham said. “Our resources are free and confidential.” 

For some students, going to the counseling center for the first time can seem intimidating or awkward, but she wants to assure anyone in that situation that they’re not alone.

“A lot of students use our services, and it’s not uncommon for people to be a little nervous,” Cunningham said. “But if you just try it, you could find it to be really helpful.”

A big draw for students at the Health and Safety Fair was the chance to interact with some furry friends. Lehigh Valley Therapy Dogs is a group of about 100 dogs that visits locations like nursing homes, hospitals, airports, libraries and schools. 

“We encourage anyone who has a well-mannered dog to think about having their dog tested by a therapy dog organization and volunteer,” said Alice Romberger, a coordinator from Lehigh Valley Therapy Dogs.

Student organizations will sometimes bring therapy dogs to campus to help students relax and relieve stress.

Another organization represented at the fair was the Pride Center, which had a colorful booth stocked with rainbow candy and free flags.

“We’re here at the Health and Safety Fair because LGBT students at Lehigh have unique mental and physical health needs.” Director Chelsea Gilbert said. “I would want first-years to know that the Pride Center is here as a resource for you regardless of your identity.”

Gilbert said the Pride Center is open to everyone, supporting LGBT students and anyone else in need of its resources. 

Lehigh University Police Department officers were present at the fair to answer questions and speak with students about campus safety.

“The police department is open 24/7, and if you see something suspicious and you feel like you have to ask yourself whether you should call LUPD, then you should call LUPD, and we’ll investigate to see whether we need to take it any further,” Officer Lora Martin said.

She also encouraged students to be aware of their surroundings and be cautious when walking around campus wearing earbuds and listening to music.

LUPD offers self defense classes and safety information sessions. The Blue Light emergency buttons and the HawkWatch app connect students to LUPD dispatchers in case of an emergency. 

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