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Mills hosts health and service fair to encourage awareness

Photo by Alessandra Jacques

Music, free food, and prizes: what more could any college student ask for? All these were available at last week's health fair.

Students feasted on Founders' picnic lunch and nibbled on free samples from the booths while graduate students from the music department played music on the mound nearby.

The Health and Community Service Fair is an annual event at Mills where organizations on campus and from the local community set up tables on Toyon Meadow, offering free samples of products, pamphlets and volunteer sign-up sheets.

This year's event, hosted last Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., featured booths which were stationed by student organizations such as the abortion rights student organization, ChoiceUSA, and the Mills Interfaith Council, local businesses such as the Laurel Bookstore and World Ground coffeehouse and a variety of community service organizations such as East Bay Animal Advocates and the Berkeley-based Bay Area Alternative Press.

Health-related organizations such as the Women's Cancer Resource Center and In Line Chiropractic handed out literature on testing, prevention and resources.

"It's to let students know what kind of resources are out there in the community," said Daisy Gonzalez, student health assistant at Mills. There used to be two fairs about two weeks apart, she explained: a health fair and a community service fair. They were combined into one several years ago.

Students won free prizes by harvesting tickets from each vendor. If a ticket had a stamp on the back, it was a winner and they could claim one of the prizes from the information table, which ranged from a Peet's Coffee & Tea goody bag valued at $100 to t-shirts to safer sex bags with free condoms and lubricant.

Luan Stauss, owner of the Laurel Bookstore at 4100 MacArthur Blvd., four blocks from campus, said she didn't know there was a fair, but received a phone call this year asking if she would like to come and participate. She met many students who "didn't even know there was a bookstore."

Students found the fair informative and said that it was an excellent event to have on campus.

"It makes me aware of all sorts of resources around here," said sophomore Margaret Scampavia, holding flyers and free samples from several tables.

"It's really beneficial to me, preparing to go into the world as a non-student, looking at opportunities for after school," said senior Jody Diel.

Co-sponsors of the fair included the Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation Department, Mills Community Link, Founders and Public Safety.