HealthyHorns Fest attracts UT students with free shirts and snacks while teaching them about free health services

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Massage therapist Sheila Tremblay gives a massage to undeclared freshman Safi Jenkins at the Healthy Horns Fest Wednesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

University Health Services continues to live up to the Princeton Review’s recent praises as the third-best college health services organization nationwide by offering a health festival featuring information, food and games.

UHS presented its “HealthyHorns Fest” Wednesday at Gregory Gym Plaza to educate students about health-related problems. Sherry Bell, senior program coordinator for University Health Services, said the event aims to inform students of the health services UHS provides while displaying health-related campus resources.

“Our survey research shows us that a good number of students still don’t know that we exist,” Bell said. “Today we are able to serve students who never come to us when they are ill or injured.”

HealthyHorns Fest set up tents for each of its branches, including women’s health, urgent care, general medicine and sports medicine. Many tents distributed free items to students, including T-shirts, apples, safe sex kits and thermometers. Bell said UHS budgeted for the purchase of promotional materials to attract students’ attention.

“If we do not let students know who we are, students will not be able to use our services,” Bell said. “Our job does not stop at the doors of the Student Services Building. We need to reach out and bring information to students on campus because that is part of our mission.”

Electrical engineering freshman Natalie Herrera attended the festival and was drawn to UHS’s merchandising strategy.

“I have been trying to get one of the mustache T-shirts forever,” Herrera said. “I think the free items initially attract students and then while they are here they learn about a healthy lifestyle and how to keep yourself safe.”

The Student Health Advisory Committee, composed of students who give feedback to UHS administrators, helped plan HealthyHorns Fest. In addition to volunteering at the event, SHAC members met with the event coordinator in advance to discuss what activities attract students most.

International relations and global studies senior Kanishka Kogar, a committee member, said the organization worked hard to think on students’ level for the event.

“This year we have a photo booth, which was one of our ideas to bring students to the event,” Kogar said.

Kogar helped run a question-and-answer game at the sexual health tent. UHS aimed to advertise their first free sexually transmitted infections testing event next week. Kogar said many students may be unaware of these free sexual health services.

“This is a great avenue to let students know about our facilities,” Kogar said. “I would hope that students learn a little bit about how to be healthy.”

 Printed on Thursday, September 20, 2012 as: Festival encourages healthy behavior