At a time when college students nationwide are struggling with mental health, Hilbert College hosted a proactive, positive event to provide students with coping tools in an interactive environment. This event, commonly known as Fresh Check Day, included interactive booths, educational sessions, entertainment, refreshments, and prizes and took place on Tuesday, March 21st. Fresh Check Days are hosted at colleges across the country as an educational and interactive event to check-in with students.
Fresh Check Day is a signature program of the nonprofit Jordan Porco Foundation, which is based out of Hartford, Connecticut. Their website explains that this foundation was formed by Ernie and Marisa Porco in 2011 after they lost their son, Jordan, to suicide when he was only a freshman in college. Since then, Fresh Check has been implemented at 175 colleges and universities in 42 states.
In their mission statement, the Jordan Porco Foundation says the mission of Fresh Check Day is to “prevent suicide, promote mental health, and create a message of hope for young adults. We provide engaging and uplifting programming emphasizing peer-to-peer messaging promoting help seeking behavior, self-care, and coping skills”.
By participating in many different interactive activities, students were reminded that they are not alone and that their mental health is just as important as their physical health or academic standing. Students participated in balloon art and punch paining through WAHI Studio, and other activities including raffles, photo booths, self-reflective games, and a giant ball pit.
Kristine Twoguns, a senior at Hilbert College, worked and attended Fresh Check Day last year and is very eager to attend again this year. “This event is a great way to come together and celebrate life. After Covid, mental health challenges have increased dramatically, and having Fresh Check Day implemented may help relieve the stress and insecurities of many students”.
Fresh Check Day helped encourage dialogue about mental health and build a bridge between students and mental health resources that are available on campus, in the community, and nationally.
The day was full of smiles and laughter. Grace Adams, head of Hilbert Res Life, says Fresh Check Day was a great success. “Attendance nearly doubled compared to last year, and there were a lot more student volunteers helping to set up this event”. Grace also says that the free food could have had an influence on attendance, so more food trucks could be a possibility for next year’s Fresh Check Day.
Fresh Check Day was a great way to spread awareness and let students be open with themselves. It is important for students to know what kind of resources are available to them, so if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.