Legacy Wellness Fair

Via Unsplash.

This year’s annual Legacy outreach project focused on mental health. With restrictions from the pandemic lessening, Legacy was able to offer a more personal experience than before.

Taylor Hoeg, second year graduate student in nutrition, said Legacy’s annual events are held to benefit the community, and the group wanted to focus on mental health this year.

“We get sort of a budget to somehow improve students’ or campus life in general, to make some sort of improvement to the community,” Hoeg said. “And so, our contribution to the community this year is this little wellness fair. Just because of COVID, with everyone having so much stress, we wanted to give something back to the students so they can focus on their health and mental wellbeing.”

Matthew Burgess, senior in chemistry said, with COVID-19, the previous years’ events had to be less personal. But, with restrictions becoming lighter, he said there were now more options for community engagement.

“Last year, the Legacy program, they did the little library I believe over in The Gardens,” Burgess said. “This year, we scheduled this … to get students more actively involved as they go to lunch or come back from classes. We want them to see us and say ‘Oh, I guess I could go do a little something fun.’”

Leanne Montgomery, first year graduate student in mechanical engineering, said although Legacy isn’t part of any mental health organizations at SIUE, the wellness fair gave students a way to reach out to them.

“This coincides with other mental health initiatives on campus,” Montgomery said. “We’re not directly tied into them, but we want students to know those resources are there.” 

The timing of the wellness fair was also very important when the event was first being planned, according to Montgomery.

“We’re [going through] midterms, and the choice of this event was because students are, you know, increasing in stress. But also, workload is increasing, and we wanted people to be able to take a little break before things really crank up,” Montgomery said. “We all have to work so hard towards the end of the semester.”

A momentary release from the stress of midterms was the exact idea of the event, according to Burgess.

“The idea of it is to allow students, staff or faculty to come over and do something relaxing for half a minute in the middle of their day. We’ve got different campus resources over there for people to look at, we’ve got coloring pages and obviously there are places around here in the MUC to go and color,” Burgess said.

Burgess said they also offered free items to anyone who came by.

“We’ve got bags with little fidget toys in them, with sleep masks,” Burgess said. “There’s a game we have you can play about creating a healthy meal, which is really important for students, or really anyone at all.”

For more information, visit Legacy’s webpage.

(1) comment

Frank Sterle

When it comes to popular Hollywood productions irresponsibly stereotyping/stigmatizing people living with very serious mental illness, especially schizophrenia, I found the 2008 box-office-hit movie The Dark Knight (as overall entertaining as it was) to be a textbook example.

In one memorable scene, the glorified Batman character recklessly erroneously grumbles to the district attorney character Harvey Dent that the sinisterly-sneering clearly-conscience-lacking murderer he has handcuffed to a wheeled stretcher is “a paranoid schizophrenic — exactly the kind of mind that the Joker attracts.”

We had entered the third millennium, yet a 4/4-star-rated Hollywood hit movie could still be readily found flagrantly demonizing mentally ill characters. Where was the societal condemnation?

For a more accurate perspective on the illness, Schizophrenia.com states, “People with schizophrenia are far more likely to harm themselves than be violent toward the public. Violence is not a symptom of schizophrenia.” Also, these poor souls are more likely to be victims of violence than its perpetrators.

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