Sarah O’Connor
Staff Reporter

From Feb. 10 – 14 the Student Health Education Centre ran its first ever SHEC Week, a week dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles for university students. SHEC is offering a wide variety of events for students to participate in and learn something new.

“It’s just a great way to promote our services and do things we’ve never done before,” Kelsey O’Neill, SHEC Coordinator, commented on SHEC Week. “This is the first time it’s been done in our history of being SHEC.”

O’Neill reveals that SHEC Week was SHEC Training Chair executive Tina Cody’s idea. Cody said SHEC Week drew inspiration from the annual Pride Week and thanked Jyssika Russell and the QSCC for their inspiration and dedication.

She hopes that SHEC Week will also work to tackle different stigmas and perspectives on health by providing students with what they believe are most valuable to students.

“What I really wanted to do with SHEC week was… tackle a variety of problems that students face in their daily lives through informative and fun activities,” Cody explained.

“I really want SHEC Week to educate McMaster students with how they can lead a healthy lifestyle through easy and manageable steps.”

Laura Jamieson, Internal Programming executive and next year’s coordinator hopes that SHEC Week will help students learn the importance of health and happiness in their lives.

“I hope that SHEC Week is going to be an opportunity for people to think about and talk about certain things in their own health and their own happiness as students and how to really make that a priority in their lives,” she said.

O’Neill, Cody, and Jamieson all agree that SHEC Week is a great opportunity for SHEC to showcase and make sure students are aware of the many different services SHEC has to offer, as well as recognizing that the events being offered during SHEC Week are valuable to students.

“I know that I would have benefited from these events so much during points in my life throughout university,” Cody admits, not having been an active member of SHEC until more recently.

“I think that… first year when it’s so difficult transitioning… students can attend these events and learn new things or what might be beneficial for them as an individual,” she continued.

SHEC Week is offering a number of ways for students to get involved having a variety of activities including meditation, a movie night, free candy, a relationships roundtable, as well as workshops on busy lives and body image. With the numerous events O’Neill, Cody, Jamieson and all of SHEC’s volunterrs hope for a successful SHEC Week and hope to add more events for next year.

“I think it will most likely be done next year because [Laura Jamieson] is coming back as coordinator, so I would imagine it would continue,” O’Neill said.

She continued, “We’d listen to student’s feedback and try getting an event that we haven’t had before, like the relationship counselor.”

Jamieson said she would like to have more events directed at first year students to make transitioning easier. “I hope to…reach out to first years, doing more outreach with them because they…can get cut off in their little demographic so I’d like to be trying to reach out to them more…the first years are important to me and I think that would be my number one for sure.”

SHEC is an MSU service best known on campus for providing a variety of contraceptive products and anonymous pregnancy testing. But what many Mac students don’t know is that SHEC offers many other resources, not solely related to sexual health. Services like confidential peer support, numerous health pamphlets, a lending library available to students and the community at large, and a huge knowledge of on and off campus referrals are some of the lesser-known support SHEC offers at McMaster.

Located on the second floor of the student centre, room 202, SHEC is open 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 4:30 p.m. on Friday. SHEC is run by the coordinator, a small group of executives and a few dozen volunteers, all of whom undergo a weekend of training each term, as well as additional monthly training.

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