Raising heart health awareness

February is Heart Health Month. To help raise awareness about the impact of heart disease the Dennison Center for Recreation and Wellness teamed up with the Visual Arts department to design several themed campus wide activities.

For February, Assistant Director of Recreation and Wellness, Brad Giglio, decided to capitalize on Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Month to focus on cardiovascular wellness. “Heart disease is something well-known but under-recognized,” said Giglio. “It’s usually considered the ‘old man’s disease,’ but it affects women too, and it’s international.”

The American Heart Association uses a red dress to symbolize women’s heart health. Giglio likes the symbol too. “The red dress is something that really stands out,” he said.

Beginning on Feb. 3, representatives from the Dennison Center sold Red Dress pins during lunch in Stone Cafeteria; the pins allowed the purchaser to wear jeans during the Red Dress event on Feb. 10. All proceeds from the sale of pins were donated to the American Heart Association.

Continuing on that theme, the Visual Arts Department created an interactive, campus-wide activity involving the red dress.

During Inter*mester, Visual Arts students designed and created 20 Red Dress displays, which were placed throughout campus. Each display serves as a scavenger hunt destination, and teaches students and employees something about heart health.

“I was really excited when Mindy [Ronayne] asked me to help set up the Go Red campaign,” said sophomore Grayson Hou, who spearheaded the efforts of the visual arts students. “The cause is incredibly important, and it was a really fantastic experience trying to optimize the impact of the campaign."

To incentivize these efforts, each buyer of a Red Dress pin was entered into a raffle for one of three Fitbit Charge 2 wearable step trackers. Additionally, participants who located all 20 Red Dress stations received extra entries based on how quickly they finished the quest.

“Heart disease isn’t fun, but I wanted to something fun to raise awareness,” said Giglio.