For the first time, UND celebrated National Public Health Week with events and awareness. NPHW has taken place in the first full week of April nationwide since 1995, but this year is the first observance at UND because of new academic programs.
“This is the first year that we have an undergraduate major in public health education,” assistant professor of kinesiology and public health education Tanis Hastmann said. “It is also the second year for our master of public health degree through the med school.”
Students in both of the new undergraduate and graduate programs planned the week’s events and made efforts to educate people about the cause.
“We have never done anything like this before, and we’re excited because it’s new and innovative,” Hastmann said.
On Monday, a healthy eating booth was set up in the Memorial Union with free food and a drawing for an Amazing Grains gift card. Public health students hosted rock wall climbing Tuesday at the Wellness Center for all students to get active and meet new people.
The President’s Room of the Union was open on Wednesday as a nap room for students who wanted a place to relax with yoga mats and soft music. The public health students created the slogan “Catch Some Zs, Avoid the Cs” to educate the attendees on the relationship between sleep and poor grades.
A public health display was set up in the Union all week, and stickers featuring the nationwide campaign slogan “This is Public Health” were placed all around campus.
The campaign, which started accompanying NPHW in 2008, has resulted in over 500,000 stickers placed in strategic locations around communities to highlight how public health impacts the well being of every person.
“People don’t always understand the role public health plays in keeping our citizens and communities healthy,” Hastmann said.
She explained that the government makes many laws we take for granted, such as expiration dates on milk or refrigerator safety requirements, to protect citizens’ health.
“The most important part of this week is increasing awareness of what public health is, because it is still a relatively new endeavor,” Hastmann said. “Public health is all around us, and it’s important to the UND community.”
Emmy Erbes is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]