Fordham Introduces it’s First Health and Wellness Club


Photo Courtesy of Instagram

Fordham’s first Health and Wellness Club makes its way to campus life.

This semester, Fordham welcomed a new club focused on students’ wellbeing. Vanessa Marku, GSB ’23, and Nicoletta Loukas, GSB ’22, felt that creating the Health and Wellness club would be “a good response to the rigid constrictions of health depicted on media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.”

“We wanted to make health and wellness a part of a college student’s life in a way that’s accessible,” Marku said. The Health and Wellness club strives to both address unhealthy diet culture and counter the prioritization of physical appearance over mental and emotional wellness. “Health and wellness is something I’ve been passionate about for a few years. It’s not an all-or-nothing approach,” Loukas said.

This all-or-nothing mentality is also known as cognitive distortions. This type of thinking can be extremely disruptive to life. This mentality can be described as people who believe that anything less than 100% is 0%. In diet culture experts have found that this thinking comes out in binges and periods of extreme limitations. Experts have found that this type of eating and lifestyle is not conducive to overall life of health.

An article by DoSomething, a nonprofit aimed at creating social change, revealed that “58% of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight” and that “95% of people who suffer from eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.”

Marku and Loukas hope to impact these statistics and change how college students approach their health on social media, primarily through the construction of the Fordham Health and Wellness Blog. The blog will allow members to write about their own self-care routines and healthy habits.

Offering a more positive social media platform aims to provide students with a space to share moments of inspiration and wellness that they’ve found in their college community. It will be “a ground for people to spread their positive change on campus,” Loukas said.

In addition to its focus on social media platforms such as Instagram and blog posts, the Health and Wellness Club will host in-person events, including group workout sessions, guest speakers and visits to the local farmers market at the New York Botanical Garden.

One of the club’s main focuses will be creating dialogue to hold one another accountable to their goals. “College, and life in general, is chaotic, whether it’s busy schedules, deadlines or searching for jobs. We want everyone to be able to find peace and meaningfulness in a healthy way,” Marku said. In recent years, mental health issues among college students have been prevelant.

In 2020, almost half of all college students presented some psychiatric disorder. Additionally, almost 80% reported being anxious or overwhelemed by their workload.

Experts have found that decreasing social media usage as well as refocusing one’s mind can help decrease things like stress, anxiety, and sadness to a certain extent. Clubs like Fordham Health and Wellness Club, may be able to help Fordham students recenter and decrease some of those issues.

In addition to its focus on the university’s students, the club hopes to reach beyond Fordham’s borders to address concerns related to health and wellness in the local Bronx community as well.

According to a CityLimits article by Janaki Chandha and Ruth Ford, “43% of residents in the Bronx live under the Federal Poverty Level” due to issues that include lack of affordable housing, joblessness and lack of affordable and nutritious foods.

Marku and Loukas hope to use their club to make an impact on these issues. “We definitely hope to help the Bronx community,” Loukas said. “We have access to workout gear and nutritious foods that members of the local community do not.” The club plans to explore different ways it can extend resources to aid members of the local Bronx community.

Beyond advocating for the Bronx community, Marku and Loukas also hope to create a positive space for students of all gender identities. “We are extremely inclusive and are in no way a club just for students who identify as women,” Marku said.

Students who are interested in following the Health and Wellness club should visit the new blog page or the club’s Instagram account @fordhamwellness. On its Instagram page, the club posts motivational tips promoting wellness and proviging monthly book recommendations from the club’s e-board members. The page’s first post states, “a healthy college lifestyle is attainable by all … it does not have to be intense and rigid.”

“This club is all about exploring, so I’m excited to explore other ways students find this balance between academic work and physical wellbeing,” Loukas said.

During COVID-19, the Health and Wellness club stands out as one way that Fordham students can help foster a community centered around both mental and physical wellbeing.