By Radhika Viswanathan
Published: May 3rd, 2017
Warm spring weather has finally arrived in Brooklyn, and with it comes activities on the quad. Yesterday afternoon, the Health Programs and Immunizations Requirements Office hosted the Annual City University of New York (CUNY) Health and Wellness Festival. Over 30 vendors, clubs, and organizations ranging from dental offices to advocacy groups to health insurance companies set up booths on the East Quad.
“People can get their blood pressure checked, their cholesterol checked,” said Latoya Bowen, the Health Programming Coordinator. “Every year, we try to get three to four exhibits that facilitate services dealing with diabetes, depression, HIV/AIDS.”
The Wellness Festival is an annual event organized by CUNY Central, the central office of the CUNY system, and takes place across a majority of CUNY campuses. According to the CUNY Central website, “The goal at the Wellness Festival is early detection and disease prevention through education and screening.”
After visiting the booths, students were asked to fill out a survey that will be sent to CUNY Central. Along with demographic questions, the survey also asked students what they would like to be included in future events. Those who filled out the surveys also received a bag filled with health and hygiene products including shampoo, lotion, tampons, and condoms.
“It was a very informative and hands-on experience for me,” said freshman Hamza Khilji, who is a pre-med student. “There were many booths educating me not only in general health, but also body hygiene and how to properly take care of myself and make sure I am healthy.”
As did many other students, Khilji was able to take his blood pressure at one of the booths. “Of course, it was high—we’re in college!” he said with a laugh. “It was cool to learn about the health resources available to me under CUNY and Brooklyn College.”
One drawback to the event was the lack of parking space. This year, the Health Programs Office was unable to reserve spots for mobile vendors, who in the past had offered HIV testing.
The Health Programs organizers had been planning the event since the beginning of the semester, starting by reaching out to their list of vendors who would be interested in setting up booths. In order to get more traffic, the Health Programs Office was hoping to hold the festival on the East Quad. But given the recent erratic weather, they were unsure as to whether or not the quad would be a feasible location; in fact, they had also reserved the Student Center.
Happily, the sunny—albeit breezy—day provided a perfect backdrop for the outdoor event. “It’s hard to get students to participate in workshops because they are usually held during common hours and there are always things going on,” Bowen said. “It was great that we got to have it on the quad, because people walking from class to class stop by and want to know what it’s about.”
“The festival brings the Brooklyn College community together in the name of health,” Bowen continued. “It’s a great initiative to achieve better health awareness.”