International Wellness Fest promotes campus health resources

Estefania Espinosa

Students participated in guided meditation, snacked on exotic fruits and learned about being healthy from different organizations Wednesday at the International Wellness Fest.

The International Office created the event to expose students to other cultures and promote mental and physical wellbeing. The event included performances by the Bliss Meditation Club, the Austin Chinese Dance Company, Longhorn Salsa and the UT Tango Club. The Food Studies Project provided samples of pomegranate, starfruit and tamarind, among other fruits native to foreign countries. Students earned stickers from different tables in order to get food, which was catered by Halal Bros and Clay Pit. 

Business freshman Myriam Jimenez said the event was a nice break from studying and said she learned about a lot of fitness opportunities.

“There’s a lot of free stuff to do,” Jimenez said. “I thought most of this would cost money, but there’s free yoga classes and free salsa dancing.”

Sports management junior Matthew Schonland said his organization, Partnerships to Advance Language Study and Cultural Exchange Program, or PALS, matches American students with international students. 

“It’s important to be open to the notion of learning about new cultures,” Schonland said. “Sometimes people are kind of closed off and don’t want to put themselves out there. We try to promote as worldly a view as possible.” 

The International Office held two raffles for baseball caps and gift cards. At the Counseling and Mental Health Center booth, students could write self-care tips and anti-stress techniques on sticky notes and take one in exchange. Students of the World recorded students saying one thing they loved about themselves for one of their documentary projects. 

Other groups with informational tables included University Health Services, the Longhorn Wellness Club, UT Art of Living and Recreational Sports.

Biomedical engineering sophomore Mackenzie Clayton, representing Texas State Parks Club, said she was hoping to encourage more students to join. 

“We thought if people are interested in health and wellness, they might be interested in our club,” Clayton said. “We go visit different state parks every month, get outside, exercise and breathe fresh air.”

Clayton said there are many benefits to enjoying nature, such as getting a healthy dose of vitamin D and stress relief.

“I hope [students] leave with more motivation to go outside, even without our club,” Clayton said. “It’s good to get away from it all, every now and then.”