KPU Students Organize Health and Wellness Convention

Members of the Biology Club and the Health Science in Action Club came together to plan the event

Health and Wellness Conference organizers, Maria Santelices and Rimi Afroze. (Braden Klassen)

Keeping track of your health is an important part of life, especially for students who are prone to neglecting their health when their priorities draw them towards schoolwork.

Fourth-year KPU students Rimi Afroze, President of the Health Science in Action Club, and Maria Santelices, President of the Biology Club, decided to help their fellow students take care of themselves by putting together a Health and Wellness Convention on Sept. 15.

The convention, which was held on KPU’s Surrey campus, took months to plan. Doing so came naturally to Afroze, who originally pitched the idea and has experience with hosting a variety of health-related booths, displays, and guest speakers.

“I like [collaborating] within a community because I believe you can do so much more with a diverse group of people who are interested in health science,” says Santelices. “We couldn’t have done it without the organizing committee members because these students are key in making a difference as well.”

“A change can start from a group or from an individual,” adds Afroze. “So we initiated this as a group, but we want everyone to continue off that.”

The convention addressed many aspects of healthy living such as physical health, nutrition, sexual health, psychological and social health, and even financial health. Guest speakers included Health Sciences graduate Paula Littlejohn and. Nick Inglis, a KPU Biology professor. Representatives from KPU Peer Support, a group comprised of students dedicated to supporting students’ mental and social health, were also present at the event.

Ph.D. Student Paula Littlejohn, MHS gives a speech on Personalized Medicine. (Yaunna Sommersby)

“Social health is important, especially for students at this stage in their education,” says Santelices. “It’s healthy to speak to people, to talk to people about whatever problems you’re going through.”

Presenters from Fraser Health invited attendees to write messages of hope on painted rocks that would later be sent to patients suffering from eating disorders. Options for Sexual Health—also known as “Opt”—were at the convention as well to educate students and hand out novelty paper penises made in the likeness of historical figures like Mozart or Henry the VIII.

The Health Science in Action Club also had a booth where they handed out healthy snacks and educational pamphlets on nutrition.

“You should just try and be aware of your diet,” says club member and Health Science major Sydney Gloanec. “Try to eat fruits and vegetables, educate yourself on what vitamins you need, and then realize, ‘This is what I’m eating. This is what my diet is lacking. I should try and go out of my way to bring more of that in.’”

Afroze is hopeful that the convention helped students make healthy changes to their lifestyle.

“You can [make] a change at any stage in your life,” she says. “It’s never too late.”

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