As part of “Sextober,” a month dedicated to the promotion of healthy sexuality at UNH, the fifth annual Being Fierce and Fabulous Women’s Expo was held in an effort to invite people of all identities and genders to have fun and relax while strengthening community and self-connections.
On Thursday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., the Memorial Union Building’s (MUB) Granite State Room (GSR) displayed interactive tables from different UNH offices, campus organizations and the surrounding community as a way of introducing students to resources they may have previously been unaware of. The expo, organized by UNH’s Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) and Health Services, was also an opportunity for students to take time out of their busy schedules to focus on self-health and relaxation.
“Maybe by participating in the art activities, [attendees will] walk away feeling a little bit lighter and de-stressed,” UNH Health Services’ Wellness Educator and Counselor Dawn Zitney said. “Just have fun, everything is so serious.”
According to the expo’s web page, 27 UNH organizations and nine New Hampshire businesses and nonprofits participated in the event. Volunteers from the Panhellenic Council helped attendees make relaxing eye pillows, while therapy dogs gave students the opportunity to de-stress with much needed canine love.
“It’s all about smiles and happy faces,” dog handler Mary Ellen Whittier said. She accompanied her golden retriever Yogi, who also visits students in the library during finals week.
Promoting the importance of physical, sexual and emotional health was a common link through all the displays at the Women’s Expo.
In the case of Health Services Eating Concerns Mentors, their particular goal is to help students in regard to eating concerns and disorders. Junior nursing major and peer mentor Cassie Gagliardi said their display focused on trashing insecurities and the importance of promoting a healthy outlook on oneself.
Representing the UNH Police Department, Officer Carleen Bowman informed and taught students how to use the Livesafe App, a nationwide app that uses location to help people find escorts or rides home instead of walking alone. The app can show a live stream of an individual’s route home, and it also allows users to contact dispatch and send pictures or recordings of suspicious or dangerous activity.
“I’m here to help women realize what they can do to protect themselves,” Bowman said.
The Joan G. Lovern Health Center was among the many organizations with tables sharing information on women’s reproductive health care. Senior social work majors and interns Julie Gabrielson and Monique Michon highlighted the importance of women knowing the many options of birth control available to them. According to Gabrielson and Michon, this knowledge allows women to be in control of their sexual health.
“There are a lot of woman on campus who do not know where to go or what steps to take for health care,” Women’s Health Services Registered Nurse Kelly Perkins said.
According to Perkins, Health Services has one gynecologist and two nurse practitioners available to students with the initial visit being free.
Sophomore communication sciences and disorders major and SHARPP Community Educator Shannon Bryant said that a little over 200 people attended the expo.
One such attendee was junior occupational therapy major Ellen Ross, who said she was drawn to the event because she saw pictures of therapy dogs on the UNH Snapchat story.
“I like that it’s a women’s event,” Ross said. “It’s nice to have all the resources in one spot