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UHS to mark 100th birthday with wellness fair, pet therapy, ice cream flavor

May 2, 2011

In celebration of 100 years serving the campus as the student health center, University Health Services (UHS) is planning two days of events designed to help students become less stressed and more energized as they prepare for final exams.

“The only gift UHS could possibly want for its birthday is for the students to be as healthy and happy as possible,” says Sarah Van Orman, executive director of UHS.

“So staff from all our services have worked together on this celebration event to help everyone finish the semester feeling strong and well.”

On Tuesday, May 3, students are invited to drop by the UHS Well Being Bonanza from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on the plaza outside 333 East Campus Mall.

Staff from UHS will be handing out water bottles and healthy snacks, answering questions about their services and providing expert advice on ways to eat better, sleep better and feel better overall. There will also be staff from Rec Sports, drop-in mini-classes in yoga and qi gong on the lawn and chair massages available (quantity limited; sign-up at event required).

Pet Therapy will be held the next day, Wednesday, May 4, from 3:45-5:15 p.m. Due to construction on Library Mall, this year’s event will be held in a new location, between Carson Gulley and Slichter Hall just off Observatory Drive.

This annual stress reduction event is always held in the first week of May, to remind students of the virtues of taking a break from studying to relax and smile. Staff from UHS and other UW offices will bring their own dogs to campus so students can pet them. UHS counseling staff are also on hand for students who want to chat informally about exam stress.

“As the event grows every year, more campus partners join in,” says Van Orman. “This year Housing offered their beautiful location. I really don’t know who enjoys this day most-the students, the campus staff or the dogs.”

To mark the UHS Centennial, Babcock Dairy has also created a new ice cream flavor, now available in the Babcock Dairy Store. Called UHS Berry Therapy, it’s vanilla ice cream with a blueberry swirl and raspberries and dark chocolate pieces mixed in.

“We’ve taken a little teasing about a health service creating an ice cream flavor,” Van Orman says. “But there is nothing wrong with including the occasional scoop of ice cream as part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, one of the most valuable habits any person can develop for long-term health and wellness is becoming moderate and mindful in your eating and really savoring the little treats in life.”

UHS was also mindful of the ingredients, selecting blueberries, raspberries and dark chocolate to remind students of their healthful qualities. Van Orman is also looking ahead to the unit’s role on campus for the next 100 years.

“A lot of things have changed in the century since UHS opened its doors,” Van Orman says, “including the development of antibiotics and vaccines and the field of psychotherapy. There have been tremendous advances in cleaner air and water and the safety of the food supply, and scientists have helped us understand about vitamins and other aspects of nutrition.

“But things like the need to exercise, get enough sleep, manage your stress and be connected with people and activities you enjoy are just as relevant-and maybe even more challenging-than they were when UHS first started. So helping students with those things will surely be part of our mission into our next century.”

In the event of rain, the Well Being Bonanza will move inside the lobby of 333 East Campus Mall. Pet Therapy will be canceled in the event of rain.