Helping inform students on what’s needed to know regarding health and academics
Reading is not uncommon while doing certain “business” in the bathroom, and with that concept in mind, the California State University, Fresno Health and Psychological Services department planned to promote the different resources available to the students through the Stall Seat Journal.
The concept of the Stall Seat Journal, as a play on the Wall Street Journal, started at the University of Virginia and the Virginia Commonwealth University as a newsletter to promote their social norms programs. At Fresno State, the newsletter started out as a means to inform students about drinking and health resources.
Kathleen Yarmo, health promotions and wellness services coordinator, said that the Stall Seat Journal is a promotional scheme to inform students on what is available for them based on their needs.
“Most students report that stress, colds and flu, juggling work and school, are the kinds of issues that students are grappling with,” Yarmo said. “So, we point them to the learning center to help with their academic issue. We also work with other partners that will incorporate information to help students’ academic success.”
The Stall Seat Journal was funded by a grant given by Donaghy Distributing to the Alcohol Safety Council to promote student awareness on the hazards of drinking. Along with the alcohol tidbits, the Alcohol Safety Council’s subcommittee also inserted information regarding other issues that impact students.
Health science major and project assistant Hannah Day, said that the information posted in the journal is a collaboration between the students in the social norms grant program and the campus community resource centers.
“We include the social norms and alcohol components and we also insert blurbs on diet from the health center’s dietician, and information from Family PACT, which is the sexual health program for students,” Day said. “We like to highlight what’s here on campus and to emphasize what’s available for students.”
Along with Day, two other students produce a monthly issue of the Stall Seat Journal. Student Coordinator Elizabeth Echeveste and Day gather the information posted on the journal, while Karl Bellagio works as the graphic design artist.
Each issue is designed with colorful graphics and letterings to highlight each blurb published on the journal.
Although the graphics are important to catch student’s attention, Day said the information printed on each issue is just as important.
“I think this is information that students don’t get on a regular basis and it’s something that’s crucial in the way on staying healthy and staying safe,” Day said.
The Alcohol Safety Council and the students from the social norms program piloted the first issue of the Stall Seat Journal in April 2008 to the residence housing on campus, Yarmo said. The majority of the residents’ responses to the survey that was conducted after the first issue was published were positive.
In one of the comments of the survey, one resident said, “Because I’m always going to the bathroom, I actually read the whole thing. I thought it was interesting.”
For Yarmo, she said her drive is to make sure that the students are invested in their health as consumers.
“I’m passionate about helping students as health consumers. Everything we do here is to increase their health literacy,” Yarmo said. “Education helps promote and maintain students health so when they get older, they develop health behaviors. That’s what fuels me as a health educator.”