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Road to Wellness Expo connects students, faculty and staff to on- and off-campus resources

Student Health will give out free flu shots to the students only during the Road to Wellness Expo on Jan. 30 in the gym of the Recreation Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

With 2019 in its third week, many University of North Georgia (UNG) students, faculty and staff are working on their New Year's resolutions of getting fit, eating better and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Now, several UNG departments along with area businesses will help them with that endeavor at the Road to Wellness Expo.

"College campuses across the nation are moving from encouraging physical fitness to encouraging overall wellness," said Madeline Bittner, graduate assistant for fitness in Recreational Sports at UNG. "It is more than just working out. It's the physical, mental and emotional. It's all aspects of wellness."


The Recreation Center on the UNG Dahlonega Campus offers exercise equipment as well as group fitness classes.

To address this healthy lifestyle concept, the Road to Wellness Expo was born. The inaugural event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 30 in the gym of the Recreation Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. The free event will be open to students, faculty and staff from all five campuses and residents who are members of Rec Sports in Dahlonega.

A collaborative effort between Bittner and UNG Health Educator Meri-Leigh Smith, the expo will feature a plethora of health-related, off-campus vendors ranging from medical and fitness centers to domestic violence and rape response organizations. Some vendors attending are No One Alone, Rape Response, USG Well-Being, CrossFit Dahlonega, Georgia Mountain Health, Mountain Eye Clinic, Northside Hospital, and South East Body Fat Test.

"It's good for students to know where to go and get services," Smith said. "If they need glasses, they know who they can go see. If they are three hours away from home, they know a place where they can go and get their teeth cleaned."

Off-campus vendors will not be the only ones represented. Sponsors will also have booths at the event. They include presenting sponsor Northeast Georgia Health System; supporting sponsor UNG Dining Services; and community sponsors Family Care Dahlonega and Dahlonega Dentistry.

UNG campus departments and offices such as Student Counseling, Student Disability Services, Student Money Management Center, Rec Fitness and Training, and Student Health Services will be on hand, too.


Flu shots will be available to students at the Student Health booth at the Road to Wellness Expo.

All booths will supply information about services and resources and may offer screenings. For example, a nutritionist with Dining Services will discuss food choices and the new line on the Dahlonega Campus. The eye care clinic will conduct vision screenings while the health system will conduct blood pressure checks. Giveaways, doors prizes and food will be available, too.

"Student Health will give out free flu shots to the students only," Smith said, explaining flu season typically lasts through late March and early April. "It's not too late to get a flu shot."

Smith and Bittner said this is the first Road to Wellness Expo at UNG. After gathering feedback, they will look for ways to improve it in the future. Of course, the future is not far away. A wellness expo is planned for the Gainesville Campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Robinson Ballroom in the Student Center.

With all of this focus on health for both expos, Smith said it is the perfect time to launch UNG's Wellness Challenge.

"It is a challenge to get people to kick-start their journey to personal wellness as a whole," Smith said.

She explained the challenge promotes key elements to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Those are drinking plenty of water during the day, getting enough sleep at night, taking time for self-care and having accountability partners throughout the process.

The challenge is also a competition for students, faculty and staff. All participants who enter, they receive points based on the activities they complete. For every point earned, they move closer toward a chance in weekly drawings to win items such as a water bottle, T-shirt or other prizes.

"You are working for a prize, so it is a wellness goal with a little incentive," Smith said.

Visit the Wellness Challenge webpage to sign up.

Road to Wellness Expo

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30

Where: Recreation Center gym on UNG's Dahlonega Campus

Cost: Free for UNG students, faculty and staff from all five campuses; and residents who are members of Rec Sports in Dahlonega


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