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 Tuesday, September 9 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Student Perspective: Community Health Resource Center keeps students healthy, happy
by Joanna Nasar, graduate student, Environmental Journalism

The Community Health Resource Center promotes healthy lifestyles and behavior in students through outreach programs, workshops, free testing and counseling. Some of the topics addressed include body image and eating concerns, cold care, gender, gender violence, interpersonal relationships, nutrition, sexual health and stress management and relaxation.

The center, which used to be three separate programs – Wellness, COURAGE and Sexual Health, unified last year into room 411 of the UMC to offer students one place that meets a multitude of health needs. “All issues cross over and relate to one another,” said Melissa Rizzuto, a coordinator at the center. “We want students to be able to talk about and be knowledgeable about all these topics.”

Like many of the staff at the center, Rizzuto started volunteering for the program when she was a student. “I think students who volunteer here develop a deep sense of purpose in helping students empower themselves,” she said. Volunteer Bela Mohapatra, a senior integrative physiology major, agrees. “It means so much to be a part of this program because it is really unique and it deals with issues that apply to everyone,” Mohapatra said.

The center responds to the needs of CU students by creating programs designed to help students achieve academic success. Since a survey showed that stress is one of the top three reasons students say they don’t do well in classes, the center created “Haven.” Volunteers go to resident halls, into the community and to student groups to offer 3- to 5 -minute chair massages as well as an aromatherapy bottle making station. “It encourages people to take a few minutes to breathe and relax,” said Anne Schuster, a coordinator at the center.

Other programs are designed to empower students by giving them information about their own bodies. On Monday and Tuesday nights the center provides free, anonymous, confidential HIV testing. Walk-ins are welcome or students may make an appointment by calling (303) 492 -8704. Four student volunteers administer the rapid 10-minute test. Afterward counseling is provided on topics like risk levels, comfort level around behaviors and how to reduce STIs and HIV risks. “We want students to feel comfortable and to know that no topic is off limit,” said Rizzuto.

The center answers its mission to promote both student academic success and campus-wide health with programs as diverse as tobacco cessation and the campus hand washing campaign. In the future the center will continue to integrate health into the CU community though cross topic programs to encourage a healthy and inclusive community at CU.

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