The Daily Iowan

UI Fresh Check Day awarded best in the country

The UI is being awarded for having the best Fresh Check Day out of 145 events in the country; it is being recognized for its collaboration across campus and encouraging inclusion.

To+raise+awareness+about+mental+health%2C+the+first+UI+Mental+Health+fair+was+held+in+the+IMU+on+April+5%2C+2017.
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UI Fresh Check Day awarded best in the country

To raise awareness about mental health, the first UI Mental Health fair was held in the IMU on April 5, 2017.

To raise awareness about mental health, the first UI Mental Health fair was held in the IMU on April 5, 2017.

Osama Khalid

To raise awareness about mental health, the first UI Mental Health fair was held in the IMU on April 5, 2017.

Osama Khalid

Osama Khalid

To raise awareness about mental health, the first UI Mental Health fair was held in the IMU on April 5, 2017.

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

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Fresh Check Day is a national event that gives students a unique opportunity to learn about mental health, and the UI has been recognized for the work expanding the event and appealing to students in creative ways.

The UI’s third-annual Fresh Check Day will receive an award on March 23 from the Jordan Porco Foundation for holding the best Fresh Check Day in the country.

RELATED: University Counseling Service offers new programs for students

University Counseling Service Director Barry Schreier will travel to Hartford, Connecticut, to attend a gala held by the foundation and receive the award, he said.

The goal of the event is to have a wellness approach to students’ mental health instead of an illness approach, he said. More organizations have become a part of the event over the past three years, and it was held during the UI Homecoming Week this year instead of during the spring, Schreier said.

Schreier brought Fresh Check Day to the university to get the campus community and student organizations together and everyone involved with mental health, he said. The event has a fair-like atmosphere, with booths with different activities for students to participate in to learn about mental health, Schreier said.

RELATED: Fresh Check Day aims to lessen the stigma about mental health

“[The award] feels like a really good national recognition for the large scale campus-wide effort that we’re doing to reduce stigma and raise awareness of resources on campus around mental health,” Schreier said.

Next year’s Fresh Check Day will be held in Hubbard Park on the Wednesday of Homecoming Week, he said.

The award for Outstanding Fresh Check Day recognizes a university with exceptional promotion efforts, planning, and implementation of the event, said Jordan Porco Foundation program manager Leah Nelson in an email to The Daily Iowan. The award also recognizes outstanding engagement with the booths at the event as well as student attendance because of outreach, she said.

“[The] University of Iowa got our attention with creative and effective promotion tactics that brought more than 700 students to the event as well as an impressive demonstration of cross-campus collaboration and commitment to sustainability and inclusion,” Nelson said.

The Jordan Porco Foundation hopes to see other campus’ Fresh Check Days follow the UI’s lead in thinking of creative ways to boost event attendance and create new and engaging booth activities, Nelson said. The foundation also hopes to see more campuses make Fresh Check Day a tradition for students to look forward to, she said.

Those involved with planning Fresh Check Day the first year knew that students’ mental health was becoming an important conversation on campuses but didn’t know if the event would be feasible after the first year, senior UISG Sen. Lily Burns said.

Mental health can come in many forms, so being able to address the whole spectrum of mental health through one event allows students to have those conversations, she said. Fresh Check Day has been able to make mental health a topic that people take seriously, she said.

“I think at first, we really just wanted to engage in the conversation of what is mental health on a college campus,” Burns said. “We want this event to continue on so that students, every year, know that there’s an opportunity to get help or reach out to learn more about how to help someone.”

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About the Writer
Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

Email: [email protected]

Kelsey Harrell is a news reporter at The Daily Iowan. She is a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism...

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