Jacob Conrad, Staff Writer

On Feb. 22, for National Rec Day, the University of Missouri–St. Louis Recreation and Wellness Center held the “Health and Wellness Fair,” an all-day event packed with food, sports, relaxation and more for students and staff at UMSL.

“The Wellness Fair had been put together by Danny Provencio, Emily Davidson and myself, in collaboration with the UMSL Human Resource Office,” Dan Bettmann, assistant director of competitive sports said. “This is the first time the Recreation and Wellness Center has offered a Health and Wellness Fair.”

Attendees were greeted at the doors by a large “What do you Love” board adorned with red and yellow hearts where attendees were encouraged to write down something that they loved, from weightlifting to Los Angeles, and many more.

“We wanted to have something to do with hearts, because February is National Heart Month,” Bettmann said. “We also wanted to have something about appreciating what you have, which is an important part of wellness, not just working out.”

Attendees were then encouraged to participate to spin to win, a game show wheel which featured de-stressing techniques and polite actions, like “take ten deep breaths” or “open a door for a stranger,” which they were encouraged to do sometime throughout the day.

The day featured multiple events dedicated to expanding knowledge of all aspects of health and wellness, ranging from self-care and exercise to meditation and general health. The Director of Health, Counseling and Disabilities Chris Sullivan lead a meditation class for stress relief.

“I lead a mindfulness group,” Sullivan said, “It’s to help people deal more effectively with life’s difficulties, and to remain calm while doing so.”

The Rec Center also hosted information tables, from campus organizations like the UMSL Choir Group and UMSL Muslim Student Association, to health care groups like Costco Pharmacy and United Healthcare, and nonprofits such as Oasis. Some tables offered health services, like  blood typing from the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, and blood pressure checks and personal training tips from the Rec Center Trainers. In addition, the fair also hosted some friendly competition. The day was ended with a casual drop-in-and-play Pickleball Tournament, and before that a H.O.R.S.E. Tournament. The fair was not only held at the Rec Center, the UMSL Optometry School held free eye screenings and Mercy St. Louis brought its Mammography Van.

The Health and Wellness brought together many different groups to the Rec Center. Students, teachers and staff were all welcome to come and speak with a wide variety of groups, and simply relax.

“There wasn’t a specific attention for togetherness, but I think emphasizing health and wellness just naturally creates that positive environment,” Bettmann said. “The goal of the fair was to educate, a one stop shop for health and wellness for the faculty, staff and community members, and we wanted to recognize and lift up our campus partners that share very similar goals to our mission and vision at the Rec Center.”