Global Health Initiative (GHI) held their first annual Health Fair last week on the Coates Esplanade. Booths provided food and information to help students understand what health is and how to take care of themselves.

The fair hosted tables by Wellness Services, TUVAC, Trinity Progressives and many more. They offered goods and information to advertise their specific health topics and encourage students to learn and adopt healthy habits.

Kiran Lalani, senior and vice president of GHI, proposed the idea of a global health fair last semester. This year they had the time to plan and reach out to the organizations who wanted to set up a table at the fair and whose presence at the fair made sense.

“I think mainly just to inform the Trinity student body of different programs that are out there to help with [health],” Lalani said. “We have the Wellness Center out here, TUPD — like, we have all these different organizations on campus that people can go to to get services and stuff that not many people know about.”

Students came to the Global Health Fair to learn about health and how to handle issues with it.

“As a German, I want to know how Americans talk about health and perceive issues of the topic on campus,” said sophomore Nikola Tsarigradski, German student in the Fulbright program.

Emmanuelle Oduguwa, senior and president of GHI, feels that many students need to know how to take care of their own health, as well as understand what global health is.

“When people hear things like ‘global health’ they don’t really know what it means. But before we can get into that discussion, it’s really important to start off with the basis of health,” Oduguwa said.

All the tables at the fair provided information about health. Katherine Hewitt, coordinator of wellness services, spoke about the importance of sleep. Different cultural organizations, such as the Trinity University Latino Association, provided free and healthy cultural food. Oduguwa thinks these presentations at this fair are an introduction into the basis of health.

“When we start that conversation on health first, then we can build into global health and health disparities as well. So this is like an informal introduction into what health is,” Oduguwa said.

Oduguwa founded GHI two years ago during her sophomore year. Her interest in global health began with a global health class that she took when she was a underclassman.

“It was really interesting to explore different health disparities, so I thought it’d be really cool to like, bring it to campus, and have students explore different topics in global health,” Oduguwa said.

GHI focuses on global health issues around the world, especially global health disparities, and they change their topic of focus every semester. The GHI table at the fair was handing out bottles of hand sanitizer to promote their focus on environmental justice and sanitation this semester.

“Last semester we talked about refugee health and sexual diseases. This semester we’re focusing on environmental justice, and so our focus this year is to have a semester-long donation drive to build a well in Africa,” senior Martin Hoang, finance director of GHI, said.

GHI wishes to raise $8,000 in donations for the Thirst Project by the end of the semester in order to fund a well project in Swaziland.

“We’re trying to see if we can reach out to different alumni to raise money for the event,” Oduwuga said. “We also have a donation page right now. It’s on our Facebook page. You can donate directly through there.”

As well as doing work across the ocean, GHI is attempting to work with a local advocacy group in San Antonio to combat the waste that’s been dumped on the Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.

“It’s a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood and they’re also lower income so there’s a lot less resistance to the effects that are going on there. But a lot of residents have reported high rates of cancer and so that’s obviously an issue,” Oduwuga said.

The first GHI general meeting of the year will be this Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the Lightner Tea Room. For more information about GHI and to donate to the well project, visit their Facebook page, Global Health Initiative on Trinity University.

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