Annual Gannon Wellness Fair goes virtual

Gannons annual Wellness Fair is set to take place virtually April 1 through April 30.


Gannon’s annual Wellness Fair is set to take place virtually April 1 through April 30.

Chloe Palmiere, Staff Writer

Gannon University’s Wellness Fair is an event that has happened for years, but this year it looks a little bit different due to COVID-19. However, one university official believes the fun experienced at the fair won’t be ruined by the pandemic.
This year’s Wellness Fair is a month-long, virtual event running from April 1 through April 30. The theme is “Renew, Reset and Recharge your wellness in 30 days.”
Seven wellness zones will comprise the fair, and once they are completed, participants will receive a T-shirt and wellness resource baggie. These seven wellness zones are physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental and occupational.
McKenna Haskins, the wellness coordinator at the Recreation and Wellness Center, said that there are a few different ways each zone can be completed. Participants fill out a “Wellness Passport” every time they fulfill a zone, and once their passport is filled out, they receive their prize.
“Any and all Gannon-sponsored events can count toward the ‘Wellness Passport’ for this month of wellness,” she said. “This can include virtual and in-person events. Events are constantly being added and planned.”
Currently, there are events for every wellness zone on the list. Any Gannon Moves activity, a series that is happening throughout April, can be completed to fulfill the physical wellness zone. Any in-person or virtual group fitness class through the Rec and Wellness Center’s Instagram can also count for this zone.
For the social wellness zone, different DIY crafts are scheduled throughout the month as well as the Live Music Series through APB on the weekends during the month of April.
To complete the emotional wellness zone, there is “Stress Less Week,” which will be happening from April 26 to April 30 at the Rec and Wellness Center. Therapy dogs and yoga are also available during the week and can fulfill the emotional wellness zone.
Two main events on the lineup can fulfill the spiritual wellness zone. “Friday Devotions” occurs every Friday and “Scripture CLG” happens every Thursday. More information on both events can be found on Gannon’s EngageU page.
If participants are looking to fulfill the intellectual wellness zone, there will be virtual trivia every Friday and the annual Celebrate Gannon event is set for April 23.
To enhance environmental wellness and complete this zone, there will be biking at Presque Isle on April 24 and Day of Caring on Saturday.
Lastly, to fulfill the occupational wellness zone, Optional Practical Training (OPT) Informational Sessions are offered on April 19 and 26 and “The Stock Market Challenge” will be hosted by the Rec and Wellness Center.
There is no doubt that the 2021 Wellness Fair looks a lot different than the event has in past years. However, Haskins is confident that the new, COVID-19 friendly version of the Wellness Fair will be well-received.
“There are pros to both versions of the Wellness Fair,” she said. “I do enjoy our traditional one-day Wellness Fair that feels like a celebration of wellness. However, I am excited for this year’s event because I think that it will offer more flexibility with participants’ schedules.
“They will have the ability to pick and choose which events they want to attend and participate in. I think that putting an emphasis on wellness for an entire month will be very beneficial.”
Students like Claire Livingston, a sophomore physician assistant major who is participating in this year’s wellness fair, are excited for the event, regardless of whether it is virtual or in person.
“The Wellness Fair is one of my favorite events that we hold on campus, and I was hoping that we would still have something even with COVID,” she said. “When McKenna told me that they were having a virtual month of wellness, I was excited.”
Because of the restrictions that still exist on large group gatherings and events, finding a way to hold a wellness fair while being COVID-19 safe was something that took a lot of planning, collaboration and teamwork. However, one thing that didn’t change was the university-wide support for the event.
“The planning for this year’s wellness fair has really been a team effort,” Haskins said. “The time and effort put into planning this year’s event will be well worth it even if we can improve just a handful of students’ overall wellness.”
The new method of holding the fair made it so that the expectation for participation was also different from past years. While the in-person event may have garnered a large majority of the Gannon community, this virtual event, which requires participants to sign up through EngageU, figured to draw in a smaller number of people.
“So far, I have about 100 people registered for the event,” Haskins said. “This number surpassed my expectations, so I am thankful for the interest that has been shown.”
Jacob Schrift, a junior occupational therapy major who is also participating in this year’s event, said that he expects a low turnout for the event.
“I am excited to see that there will be a wellness fair,” Schrift said. “However, I do not think there will be much of a turnout in comparison to past years. It is extremely evident that participation in all clubs is at an all-time low.”
Still, a focus on wellness is important, especially during a pandemic, and Schrift said he will use the wellness fair as an opportunity to better his overall wellness.
The fair provides students with opportunities to focus on their wellness as a whole, as well as certain parts of their wellness that may be pushed aside when other priorities, like school, jobs and social lives, come into play.
“I am most looking forward to spending some time to focus on all aspects of wellness,” Livingston said. “It is easy to neglect some of the lesser-known aspects of wellness – like spiritual wellness or environmental wellness – during stressful times. Participating in this month of wellness is making me take the time to address these areas and recharge my overall well-being.”


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