Health and Wellbeing Take Center Stage at Virtual Community Action Day
Since Community Action Day was established at AUC in 2008, it has served as a way for the university to collaborate with local organizations on projects benefiting the people and communities of Sint Maarten. Once a semester, AUC physicians-in-training, colleagues, and community partners come together to focus on priorities related to health and wellbeing, education, child development, environmental health, and more.
This semester’s event continued the tradition in virtual and socially distanced settings in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More than 175 students and colleagues participated in three streams of volunteer activities, including a collection of health promotion videos, a letter-writing campaign, and a beach cleanup on Sint Maarten.
Health Promotion on Social Media
Forty-eight students contributed to a series of more than 20 health-focused educational videos, which were live-streamed on AUC’s Facebook page on Saturday, August 1. The videos covered key health promotion topics like the importance of wearing a face mask, sun safety, positive body image, stress relief, nutrition and more.
"Back in early March, I realized Community Action Day would be different, and so I began to think about possibilities. It came to me at 3:00 in the morning: We could use social media to share short messages about health," said Dr. Jackson, Assistant Dean for Community Engagement. "[Saturday represented] what Community Action Day is all about, even if we are not all physically present together."
Many of the videos were created with advising support from AUC faculty, and in collaboration with community partners such as the Mental Health Foundation, AIDS Foundation, Sister Basilia Center, and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation.
Caring through Correspondence
In an era of virtual gatherings and reduced in-person contact, there’s never been a better time to use the written word to show that you care. Over the past few weeks, students wrote letters to 83 elderly residents of the White & Yellow Cross Foundation in an effort to do just that.
Organized by student Savana Craib and the Phi Chi community service fraternity, the letter-writing campaign paired each participating student with a resident at the White & Yellow Cross Foundation. The initiative served as an opportunity for students to participate in Community Action Day from their homes regardless of location, as letters could be mailed or delivered by one of the organizers.
Mullet Beach Cleanup
Thirty-four students participated in a socially-distanced beach cleanup in collaboration with the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation, collecting more than 480 pounds of trash. This effort, organized by student Julie Wancik and the Phi Chi service fraternity, offered students on island an opportunity to help keep Sint Maarten beautiful after spending the morning picking up litter from Mullet Beach.
Mark your calendar for next semester’s Community Action Day on November 21, 2020!