Wellness Health Fair comes back to NMU after a year of hiatus

Ryley Wilcox, Contributing Writer

The Wildcat Wellness Health Fair hosted by the School of Health and Human Performance is coming back to NMU on Feb. 8 after a year hiatus, to showcase health resources of local and NMU organizations to students, faculty and staff.

The fair coordinated by Matthew Kilgas, assistant professor at the health and human performance department, kicks off at 10 a.m. in the ballrooms on the second floor of the Northern Center.

This is Kilgas’ third year organizing the fair since he started at NMU in 2018.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to see these different places around the community that they have access to,” Kilgas said. “I think that’s a great opportunity for students who may not have heard of a lot of these organizations to get an idea of what else is out there.”

In 2021, the health fair was canceled due to COVID-19 precautions on campus, which caused a larger problem of students being unaware of health resources in the Marquette area, Kilgas said.

 “Especially in the time of the pandemic, where we are kind of in lockdown still and we’re not going out and doing things as much, it’s hard to see some of these other resources outside of NMU,” Kilgas said.

Students, faculty and staff have a chance to get health screenings at the fair. HIV screenings will be done by the Marquette County Health Department and the NMU speech, language and hearing sciences program will conduct hearing tests, Kilgas said.

Olivia Fuhrman, senior speech, language and hearing sciences major, said it is important for college students to get their hearing tested.

“You’re in classes with a lot of people and it can be really distracting if other people are talking around you and you can’t hear the professor, so you’re losing out on part of your education,” Fuhrman said. “By giving hearing screenings and knowing if you have an impairment, you can find ways to solve that problem with hearing aids or with therapy,” Fuhrman said.

The hearing tests consist of beeps at different volumes and frequencies played into headphones for the participants, which are conducted by juniors and seniors in the program that have practiced tests on their classmates and taken audiology courses, Fuhrman said.

Several other organizations will be in attendance at the fair. The Marquette Food Co-op and NMU Dining will be providing nutritional information with samples catered by the campus dining staff.

“[NMU Dining] usually has something different every year, so they will have baskets of fruit, but then they also try to showcase some of their other meals,” Kilgas said. “There’s usually something that they’re trying out and trying to show off.”

NMU Rec Sports and the injury evaluation clinic will have resources for students to be healthy physically. Pathways Healthcare will have information on mental health, and Superiorland Pet Partners will bring in trained therapy dogs. Planned Parenthood, the Women’s Center and the Care Clinic will offer resources on reproductive health, Kilgas said.

Kilgas encourages everyone to come out to the fair, not only to take advantage of these resources, but to also get merchandise provided by the organizations at the fair.

“Everyone who comes will leave with a prize that can go anywhere from things that businesses around the community have donated up to $100 gift cards to the bookstore and dining services,” Kilgas said.