Wellness-SBU Style

Stony Brook University Students

By Elizabeth Chervin

College life can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be very stressful. So, what can an overwhelmed student at Stony Brook do to get help? Does anybody even care? It ‘s easy to feel like you’re just another face in the crowd at such a large university, but there are many things you can do at Stony Brook to promote your physical and mental well being. 

At opening weekend, you will most likely be bored by people overloading you with information. You already anticipate hearing something about a counseling center located on campus, that “nobody probably even goes to”, right? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but actually, Stony Brook has an excellent variety of services tailored to fulfilling the needs of students in order to promote physical and mental wellness. Here are some examples of the services available to you, the student, free of charge right here on the SBU campus:

Mental Wellness - Confidential counseling services are available (with walk-in hours!) at the University Counseling Center and the Center for Prevention and Outreach (CPO). The CPO runs many support groups throughout the year on topics ranging from Mindfulness Meditation to a student-run shyness circle. The CPO also has peer education programs, CHOICE and CHILL. These are two-semester, three credit internships that train students to become peer health educators. In other words, you can receive three upper division credits for learning how to program plan, provide outreach on campus, and better educate yourself on issues affecting you and the campus at large. As a member of the CHILL internship, I personally feel it would be a beneficial experience for people of all backgrounds. You can translate the skills you learn through the Peer Education Programs to a variety of work experiences, and internships in general are valued greatly by future employers. To find out more information about CHOICE/CHILL, and to complete an application, contact course instructor Kathleen Valerio at (631) 632-9338.

Physical Wellness - What can you do when you need to get away from annoying roommates and academic demands? Stony Brook offers free fitness classes through campus recreation five days a week. Some examples of fitness classes include kickboxing, yoga, and hip-hop dance. Another way to get active is by working out in the Wellness Center on the third floor of the Student Activities Center (SAC). For current hours of operation, please contact the Wellness Center at (631) 632-6817. You can also stay fit by joining an intramural team or by participating in “open rec” in the Sports Complex by shooting some hoops. The opportunities to exercise and nurture your physical health are endless, I recommend checking out http://studentaffairs.stonybrook.edu/rec/facilities.shtml for a complete list of campus recreational activities.

Eating Healthy on the SBU Mean Plan – Stony Brook has plenty of options to nurture the mind, stay active and physically fit, but what about eating healthy? This, I admit, can be difficult to do at Stony Brook. Temptation is everywhere. Sometimes, it’s in the form of a philly cheese steak sandwich from the grill in the SAC. Other times it can be found in a seemingly harmless bowl of corn chowder in the Union. It can be hard to come by healthy food, which is available-but with a high price tag. For example, a container of pre-cut fruit will cost about $4.00, whereas those beautiful looking cakes right next to it are only $1.60.

If you’re choosing the unhealthy option just to save money, consider this: Most students on campus are on meal plans, and many students I know usually have many points left at the end of the semester anyway (this of course depends on if you go home on the weekends or not). There is a salad bar located in the Student Activities Center, and many of the food courts on campus offer pre-packed sandwiches and salads. What’s nice about the prepared foods is the nutritional information is listed right on front, so you can compare foods to see which one is better for you. When choosing the salad bar, remember to consider the caloric content of the dressing. Salad dressing can put a damper on a well-intentioned salad. Try to stick to low-fat dressings, which can be found at the salad bar and still taste great, or just stick with the traditional oil and vinegar.

Money-saving tip-Avoid buying any sort of speciality drinks. You are better off sticking with water for the price. I recently purchased a small bottle (I don’t think it was more than 8 ounces) of organic apple juice, which ended up costing me $3.25. What was even more disappointing was the fact that my little 8 oz bottle of juice contained a total of 52 grams of sugar. A general rule of thumb when choosing a beverage, stay away from “health” drinks, as they are not only pricier, but often not as good for you as they claim to be. For example, vitamin water seems to be quite a hit at Stony Brook, but is it worth the price?  The “Essential: Orange-orange” flavor contains 13 grams of sugar per serving, which means a 20 oz bottle contains 32.5 grams of sugar! At about $2.00 per bottle on campus, if you’re looking for a vitamin boost, your best bet is to purchase a multivitamin (although I recommend consulting a doctor before taking any supplements independently).

If you’re having trouble with sticking to a healthy diet while at school, I highly recommend going to the Student Health Center and meeting with our nutritionist. As mentioned earlier, such services are FREE to students, so take advantage of them. That is the best advice I can give you to succeed at Stony Brook, take advantage of the services available to you. If you are not sure about something related to mental health and wellness, please contact the health education center at the Student Health Services at (631) 632-6740. SHS is open from 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday, with the exception of Tuesdays, when the center is open until 7:30pm. There are numerous resources on this campus for you the student; you just have to know where to find them!