Students Responsive to Health Info
The second year of NMU’s subscription to the national Student Health 101 electronic magazine kicked off with a strong response. There were 2,200 site visits in September—nearly double the monthly average for the 2012-13 academic year. Though the figure has tapered off somewhat, the pace remains ahead of last year. The magazine continues to complement the outreach efforts of campus offices and departments, putting more students in touch with information designed to enhance their health and well-being, which may also positively impact their academic performance. Employees also receive the emails.
“The university’s intent is to make good health-related information in the broadest terms easily accessible to students,” said Lenny Shible (Health Promotion Office). “It is distributed in the form of an email with a link they can click on, so it doesn’t get much more accessible than that. We get a 30-page report from the service every month that gives us an idea of which articles were read and allows us to track unique visitors. We’ve had 3,200 unique visitors since the start of the fall semester.”
Student Health 101 is composed of content ranging from nutrition and fitness to relationships, stress relief, budgets and sleep and study habits. There are also interactive features such as videos and reader-submitted stories and recipes. The $7,400 cost for the service is being split between Student Services (Dean of Students, HPO and Counseling and Consultation Services), Public Safety and Police Services, the Health Center, Dining Services, Intercollegiate Athletics and Rec Sports and the School of Health and Human Performance. Partners are also contributing expertise and time, providing content for six pages of localized material unique to NMU. For example, Public Safety recently offered advice for driving on the ice.
“This reinforces what we are doing face to face through other awareness campaigns,” Shible said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re taking advantage of a wonderful resource that already exists.”
The monthly usage report also allows for open-ended comments. Shible shared some from a recent issue. They included “I learned that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving” and “I didn’t know a chemical imbalance can lead to depression.” Another student wrote, ‘I always learn a little about enhancing my physical and mental well-being. I feel it is helpful in providing ways to make yourself stronger, smarter and more healthy overall.”
Shible said, “From the prevention perspective, statistics are nice, but anecdotal responses like those really demonstrate the potential value of the magazine to some students. The goal is to grow this so people are aware it’s available and take a peek at it once in a while.”