Like the body, the wellness of a community is affected by its different contributing parts.
This year’s conference for the Center for Community Involvement and Service-Learning would focus on the collaboration of the campus and North Texas community to promote health and wellness. The conference would take place April 11-13.
Rosangela Boyd, director of the Center for Community Involvement and Service-Learning, said the center has held a conference for the past five years. This year, the conference would provide ways for the student body and public to become involved.
New activities included interactive workshops, poster sessions and a community expo, Boyd said.
After last year’s conference on sustainability, Boyd said representatives from the University of North Texas participated in a discussion to plan the conference for this year, as well as choose a topic.
“[It] seemed like a natural fit to collaborate with somebody beyond our campus as well,” Boyd said.
Lyn Dart, associate professor in nutritional sciences and director of the Food Management Program, said the committee chose to focus on health because it has become a current national trend that reaches a broad spectrum of people who want to reach their life goals.
Boyd said UNT’s Health Science Center had hosted wellness events in the past and provided a model of what the conference would include.
She said students from UNT School of Public Health would present their research on health and nutrition on Wednesday, while Thursday would be filled with events focused on community engagement and feature a community health expo. She said Friday would conclude the conference, with a series of more traditional workshops.
She said all the events are open to anyone who would like to learn more about the “integration of factors that contribute to your well-being, mind and body.”
Thursday’s expo in the Campus Commons, she said, would bring in more than 20 vendors from the area and showcase student research from the department of nutritional sciences. Live music and refreshments would create a festive environment for learning.
Junior Stephanie Garver and Senior Corby Wilfley are both nutritional science majors who were paid as interns to organize the expo. The event, Garver said, has grown to cover more than just the health fields. Giveaways will come in the form of food, prizes and advice on future goals from a wide variety of resources, she said.
Through her nutrition science major, Wilfley said she has learned, “What you eat really does determine your health and the future.” Factors such as mentality and lifestyle, she said, also play a part in wellness.
Angela Chapa, a junior nutritional science major, said she would present her research at the expo on how stress affects college students’ appetite and food intake, an issue that she said is both personal to her and relates to most students. She said she hopes to get the word out about nutrition awareness by backing up her observations with data about how the diets of students of different demographics, gender and majors are affected by stress.
In the past two years, Chapa said Dart helped her present her research in places such as the Texas Dietetic Association.
Boyd said Dart has helped her students in the “process of investigating not for or on behalf of but with the community.” Dart said she has her students use their profession to reach out to the surrounding community, as she has done, by working with community partners.
“It’s wonderful to see all these people come together with the same idea of wanting to promote health and keeping that on everybody’s mind that it’s important,” she said.
Karen Bell Morgan, assistant dean of Campus Life for health promotion, said she has seen students who could benefit from the wellness information and resources that would be presented through this conference.
She said Campus Life will have a table that promotes sexual assault awareness and the Victims Advocate Program.
Boyd said the conference and coinciding events will be proposed to meet the requirements as part of the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan. The plan aims to enhance the university’s standing as an engaged environment. She hoped the collaboration’s efforts would inspire the community and create a new tradition.
Students can register for different sessions online at www.involved.tcu.edu/sl_workshop.asp.