Stuyvesant Red Cross Hosts 12th Annual Health Fair

Stuyvesant students join together for the 12th annual Health Fair, returning to an in-person experience hosted by Stuyvesant Red Cross with the aid of various clubs and faculties.

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Stuyvesant Red Cross hosted their 12th annual Health Fair on April 25 on the fourth and fifth floors. With the contributions of many faculty members and organizations at Stuyvesant, the fair had around 300 student participants in the various activities presented by the numerous clubs that helped organize the fair.

Stuyvesant Red Cross reached out to various clubs to help contribute to the fair including Stuyvesant Muslim Students Association (MSA), South Asian Youth Association (SAYA), Stuy Papercrafts, Stuyvesant Premedical Society, Stuyvesant Road Runners, Stuyvesant Philharmonic, Pstuychology, Stuyvesant Environmental Club (SEC), and Wellness Council.

This year’s fair revolved around the main idea of sleep, its importance, and how to alter sleep schedules for health benefits. In addition to preparing presentations educating students on the importance of maintaining health despite the stressful nature of Stuyesant, each club also arranged different individual activities, such as Family Feud from Red Cross, henna from MSA, a yoga activity by SAYA, and “happiness jars” presented by SEC.

Red Cross volunteers were divided into three stations dedicated to food, tea, and a Family-Feud-style game to help organize the fair. The tea station was created to demonstrate different alternatives to coffee, the beverage of choice for many students. “We want to find a way to introduce people to types of tea because it’s a lifestyle [choice] for a lot of people. So we wanted to introduce people to different types of tea and demonstrate the health benefits,” senior and Red Cross Vice President Shreyasi Saha said.

The food station also served a similar purpose in offering healthy substitutes to the junk food that many teenagers consume. “For this event, our [goal] is to provide healthy alternatives of fruits [and other healthy options]. We got freshly picked vegetables, all homemade [and] organic,” an anonymous junior Red Cross volunteer said.

Many clubs aside from Red Cross set up stands with presentations to help spread the awareness of promoting both physical and mental health. “Well, at Stuyvesant, mental health has become a big issue and especially with the pandemic, people have been feeling more isolated. [...] We are all trying to find a community because we’ve lost a whole year of our high school lives,” senior and SAYA president Riddhi Aggarwal said. “With this fair, people will be able to learn more about mental health and also be able to find clubs and other activities [...] they can partake in to improve this.”

Some stands didn’t include as much presentation and instead demonstrated hands-on activities to help students manage stress from school and their everyday lives. “We thought papercraft would be a good way for students to de-stress and take their mind off studies and anything else that might be going on in their life,” senior and Stuy Papercrafts Vice President Hebe Huang said.

SEC also presented happiness jars as a personal mindfulness activity, with attendees writing nice things that happened to them that day. “I kind of just wanted to have people have a small little bit of joy like a small moment of happiness or appreciation,” senior and SEC President Nour Kastoun said. “I’m going to be honest, I started this in January last year, [...] so maybe a couple other people will be inspired to start their own happy jar or their own mindfulness thing.”

This year, transitioning to an in-person health fair required more help in terms of funding and setting up than prior years. “It was my first time directly working with the Parents’ Association for funding and this was definitely a year long process if we’re talking about funding, because we request those at the beginning of the year,” senior and Red Cross co-president Xiaoshen Ma said. “I also had to get [Assistant Principal of Security/Health and PE] Mr. Brian Moran to book all the floors.”

However, many club leaders found the organization process similar to that of the virtual fairs in the past two years of quarantine. “[Last year’s fair] was pretty similar to be honest. [...] We just had a presentation and a slide show instead of an actual poster, but other than that I think it’s like this similar level of interactivity since there were people that were coming in then and now,” senior and Research Club president Nina Shin said.

For many of the attendees, one of the major attractions and highlights of the fair was the food stations. “I [attended this event] because I heard there was going to be free food,” freshman Lucia Liu said. “The salad bar was really good.”

Aside from attending to receive extra credit from some teachers, students also learned new facts relating to the human body. “I did [learn something] actually. Did you know that in the joints, there’s a fluid that keeps things from knocking together, and that’s what lubricates the muscle?” sophomore William Tang said.

Despite the overall success of the event, some students raised concerns regarding crowding and its safety amidst the pandemic. “At [the beginning of the fair,] people were crowding outside, and there wasn’t really a place to go, so I think that was kind of unsafe,” Tang said.

Others also believed that the crowding in the cafeteria made it difficult to focus on what presenters were trying to say. “I liked how you could go wherever you wanted and had a lot of freedom, [but] in the cafeteria, since it was so loud, it might’ve been better if the presenters had a microphone so you could hear them better,” Liu said.

Futhermore, others hope that future advertisements of the fair could include additional details rather than just club names. “Once a club is confirmed, they maybe could do a write-up of what they are doing or the info they are offering so the health fair organizer can create a list of that and send it out to people who filled out the form,” junior Vivian Graeber said.

Some club leaders suggested proposals that would increase the space available to perform their activities. “We set up in the hallway so people had to sit down and stand there to make the papercrafts, so it wasn’t a really ideal situation in terms of space,” senior and Stuy Papercrafts vice president Ashley Wu said. “If there was a bigger space like inside a classroom, we could lay out our presentation more cleanly and also have more people sit down and enjoy the process instead of rushing it a little.”

For future years, Stuyvesant Red Cross plans to continue utilizing the Health Fair as a form of bringing the Stuyvesant community together in an engaging, educational way. “We’ve learned a lot from this first year coming back, and [...] I think just being back and being able to reconnect with everyone [is] the feeling that I take out of this,” faculty advisor of Wellness Council and Stuyvesant Red Cross Angel Colon said. “It’s the Red Cross Health Fair, but I also like to call it the Wellness Council Coalition Health Fair. We emphasize a coalition and I always promote Stuy unity. For them to be active [and] involved, activism is something that we need here.”