Health Fairs and College Campus Health Fairs
We have no control over how health fairs advertise, so sometimes college health fairs in particular are not very well attended. If you do help at a health fair that has low attendance, know that your time spent there may still have made an impact. What we are learning is that some specifically titled health fairs with names such as “Eating Disorders Health Fair” can be intimidating, especially to students. These types of health fairs may not draw large crowds, particularly at schools, because of the shame associated with this disease. The mentality might be, “Who wants to be seen looking for help at a public event about eating disorders?” In some cases you may end up only interacting with the person organizing the event or with exhibitors at other booths at the health fair. That’s okay, because you are still educating others and building awareness in the community about FA. The people you come into contact with may well tell other people about FA. Exactly that happened recently at a college health fair in California. So, don’t be alarmed if there is low attendance. You still may be helping to save a life.
Here are some recommended ways to represent FA at a health fair:
- Please stand behind the table, as opposed to in front or to the side.
- Try to make eye contact and offer trifold brochures to those passing by (from behind the table). Again, please do not stand in front of the table or around the area passing out trifolds. It appears too promotional.
- Take literature to display at the booth or table. The "Food Addiction: There is a Solution" pamphlet and the Teens and Twenties trifold brochure can be passed out at your discretion depending on your copying costs and budget for the tri-folds and pamphlets.
- Take your pictures with you, but don’t display them on the table. Have them available to show anyone who might be interested.
- Have two people at the table at all times. Sometimes we schedule three to cover for lunches—please eat away from the table.
- If there are extra volunteers, some go around to other tables with brochures and make contact with other exhibitors. Occasionally this results in connecting with other organizations that are willing to host a trifold brochure rack, i.e. at the hosting school or community organization. It may also be a good time to communicate with the health fair coordinator at the host college or organization.
- Ask the host organization if they would be interested in linking FA's website to their school's or organization's website if they don't already have a link to FA's website. Follow up with the FA WebLinks sub-committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
- If your area has a chapter or intergroup with Health Fair or Teens and Twenties Area Coordinators, make sure they email a list of instructions to the FA members volunteering with the following:
- i. parking pass information
- ii. names and phone numbers of others who will be working at the booth
- iii. designated people in charge of set-up and tear-down
- iv. reminder to take a bag of supplies and to make sure to let the area coordinator know who has it and how to get it back to the coordinator
- v. reminder to take the FA banner
- vi. reminder to take the tablecloth
- Keep a careful record of who keeps the banners in your area.
Protocol: One person manning the booth must have two years of abstinence, while others accompanying the person with that person may have a minimum of 90 days of abstinence.
It’s not always easy to give your time to be at these events, but it is one way many of us can give back and get the word out. Grab a friend and volunteer when you can—you will feel good afterwards.
Health Fair Resources
- Health Fair Volunteer Schedule
- Set Up and Take Down Information Form
- Suggestions for Health Fair Volunteers
- Individual Information Follow Up Form
- Health Care Provider/Professional Information Follow Up Form
- Health Fair Evaluation Form
- Tablecloths and Banners
- Trifold Display Booth