Whether a student is stepping on UCF's campus for the first time or a graduate student is returning, a trip to the on-campus pharmacy to grab a few supplies might be necessary to get through the semester.
UCF Wellness & Health Promotion Services partnered with CVS Pharmacy over the summer to ensure students had access to daily essentials like laundry detergent, snacks, health services information and more by providing free wellness kits since the beginning of the fall semester.
“There are large and small organizations that really care about student success and are finding ways to partner with the university to do that,” said Maureen Hawkins, director of Wellness and Health Promotion Services. “Yes, you get free stuff and learn about these different products but it's more than that. It’s that people want our students to have what they need.”
CVS provided 8,700 gender-neutral wellness kits as part of a pilot program that will soon expand to over 30 college campuses across the nation by 2020. In Florida, UCF is the first university to join the partnership, according to Lynn Long, the finance and operations executive of New Normal Life.
Lynn Long said she worked with Hawkins to bring the kits to UCF. New Normal Life, a company based in Boston, Massachusetts, works closely with retailers like CVS to bring attention to healthy products and promote well-being programs.
“It does take a community to make sure that all the people within that community get on that better path for overall health and well-being,” Long said. “That is what CVS was concerned with and that’s why they supported [the project].”
Now, less than half of the kits are available at the WHPS office located on the first floor of the Recreation and Wellness Center according to Hawkins. Students can also pick up a kit in other locations around campus such as Knights Pantry, Pride Commons and UCF CARES.
“We wanted people to see that there was a group of people here at the university trying to make sure you have options and resources to stay healthy,” Hawkins said.
Included in the kit is a fold up map that guides students through the different health services on campus such as WHPS, Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, UCF CARES and the RWC.
The “College 101: Healthy Knight” map also has tips and reminders about the importance of staying active, eating fruits and veggies, getting enough sleep and more. In addition, the black and yellow map highlights products students can use to reach those goals.
“We aren’t going to tell them what to do. They are all adults, but at least we can give them the information so they can make informed decisions,” Long said.
Timothy Hill, a public administration and criminal justice graduate student, said he was walking around the UCF Downtown campus when he was approached by a WHPS staff member who was giving away the bright yellow kits. He compared the kit to a care package a parent might send to their son or daughter.
“It was good to know that business and corporations actually care about the well-being of students,” Hill said. “It was really great to see CVS do that.”
Looking forward, CVS plans on partnering with UCF during Women’s History Month in March to provide women’s kits.The kits will include items such as razors, pads and other personal care products. In the meantime, students are encouraged to grab their free kit while supplies last.