By Isabelle Flener
The Resource and Wellness Fair, an event designed to promote various community and campus services, saw the participation of around 30 community agencies along with campus resources on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The fair offered valuable services, including blood pressure screenings, mental health screenings, flu shots, and even the delightful presence of therapy dogs—which is always a crowd-pleaser.
Associate Professor and Counselor of the college, Terri Austin, hosted the event, extending an open invitation to all. “We wanted to have an event that would give students access to lots of information and address health-related issues,” Austin said, “This was an overall event to give students information so they can get the help they need. In the past, we have organized wellness fairs, pre-COVID, and we had a considerable turnout. We are striving to rebuild student awareness.”
While Lewis and Clark had previously hosted Wellness Fairs, this year’s edition had a unique twist. “One of the things we considered was merging the Wellness Fair with various resources, creating a one-stop-shop for students to discover what L&C and the community have to offer. It also provided an opportunity for the community to learn more about us. We invited the public, and we had attendees who aren’t even part of Lewis and Clark,” Austin explained.
Each table at the event brought its own distinctive approach to assisting students and the community. For instance, Marianne Drainer’s table aimed to raise awareness about opioids and educate on the use of Narcan. Drainer is a community health specialist at Chestnut Health Systems. “We focus on opioid overdose prevention,” Drainer said. “A significant part of our work involves distributing Narcan, training, and educating people about it. We want to increase awareness because many people, even those with prescriptions, can overdose. We teach people how to be safer around opioids because they are not disappearing.”
“I work in prevention, and we aim to educate everyone and eliminate the stigma, showing people that it’s okay to have Narcan on hand when needed. It’s okay to have test strips at home and access to them when needed,” Drainer continued, “We believe this event helps to break stigmas and educate people. It’s better to have something and never need it than to need it and not have that resource.”
“This event benefits others because there is a wealth of information and numerous resources available, but most of the time, people are unaware of them or where to find them,” Austin said, “Even as the college counselor, I don’t know all the resources. This event is an excellent way to gather brochures and become familiar with the various services available. It also allows agencies to learn about one another and network, exchanging valuable information.”
The Wellness Fair presents a valuable opportunity to learn about support services and share this knowledge with fellow students, staff, and community members.
“Often, we prioritize school and work, running from place to place, and we neglect our health—both physical and mental. We cannot perform at our best if we don’t take care of our well-being. So, rather than waiting until something goes wrong, the Wellness Fair aims to promote preventive care. This is why we provide resources to identify potential issues before they become crises,” Austin said.
“Without proper attention to mental health and seeking help when needed, we see increased rates of suicide and drug usage,” Drainer reported, “Every human being seeks comfort and relief from whatever is troubling them—whether it’s physical pain, emotional distress, or mental struggles. If the pain becomes unbearable in any form, negative outcomes may follow. People cannot endure prolonged and intense suffering in any aspect of their lives.”
The Wellness Fair offered a multitude of resources, presenting people with numerous services, options, and opportunities to enhance their well-being. To discover more about the resources available at Lewis and Clark, both on and off-campus, please visit lc.edu/counseling