Wellness ambassadors work to promote healthy living

Each semester a group of students known as the wellness ambassadors is chosen to facilitate health promotion and services on the Fresno State campus.

These students come from a variety of backgrounds. Georgianna Negron has been a part of the program for two and a half years as a wellness coordinator. She is a graduate student in psychology.

Negron is a strong advocate of the program because the benefits it produces for both volunteers and students. One of Negron’s favorite parts of the program is “having a position that not only is about student service, but a place where I can have my own creative outlet.”

The ambassadors hold mandatory weekly meetings at which they brainstorm ideas to promote health among their fellow classmates. The meetings “touch on hot-button topics,” said Negron. “What’s in the forefront of students’ minds right now.” A high level of commitment is demanded of each member.

“We want to reach all students,” said Kathy Yarmo, health and wellness services coordinator and staff adviser.

This year the ambassadors are focusing their efforts in the dorms.

Developing healthy habits at the start of college will help students be successful by keeping them in class and focused on their degree, Yarmo said.

Darla Vang, wellness ambassador, said a heavy focus was put on prevention. The health center has a cold-and-flu-care station open daily to provide hot water for tea and soup and information on how to stay healthy.

The ambassadors create materials for tables around campus that promote healthy living. They also host and facilitate workshops and work with other organizations to reach their goals.

“This is a really great place to get involved,” Vang said.

“You feel that your opinions and ideas matter,” said Halley Gildersleeve, president of the wellness ambassadors.

“This program bridges the gap between the health center and students. I think it’s easier for students to interact with other students.”

Through this program, students are educated, gain volunteer and career experience and develop skills in group cohesion.  “The evolution of the program is important,” Negron said. “Students make a lot of the changes.”

Each month the ambassadors choose a topic to promote. March will spotlight sleep hygiene. National sleep week is held during March, and the ambassadors will host activities, like a pillowcase race to educate students and get them involved.  In April, the focus will change to stress management.

Besides the focus of the month the ambassadors also have other promotional events. On March 21 they will host a spring-break extravaganza called “Get Your Game On.” This event encourages students to have a productive and safe spring break.

The annual wellness fair will take place on April 18. The ambassadors will set up a table from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with informational handouts geared to educate students and increase awareness.

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