By Jill Frank
Suffolk Community College has encouraged good health in their students and others since the opening of the school by creating special clubs for students like the Nutrition Club. Whether you have heard of this club or not, most don’t realize how much the members actually do for the community.
The Nutrition club that particularly stands out is the one located on the Eastern campus. Professor Jodi Levine of the eastern campus, who is the director of the department of dietetic technician program, is the leader and founder of this club. She also participates in many other health related clubs on the Eastern and Ammerman campuses.
The club has done many helpful services not only for the students at the school but for the local community as well.
One of the things they are best known for is their Health Fair they are in charge of, which takes place every few months in the main courtyard of the Eastern campus. At this fair the students that are involved in this club help other students, families and local community residents by answering questions they may have about their health.
Marissa Hellermann, Nutrition major and a member of this club, said, “We even have a special machine in which a person can hold and it will read their BMI and other healthful information to let them know how healthy they really are. The fair is a really great place for anyone to come and get their health questions answered.” According to this student, the last fair was held at the beginning of April, so the next one shouldn’t be until the fall semester begins.
The club also volunteers at nursing homes, hospitals, school districts and other facilities such as Long Island Cares. According to their website, Long Island Cares is an organization that provides nutritional food and support services for a network of more than 540 community-based agencies. Some of these agencies include pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, child care programs, disability organizations and veterans’ services. It was founded in 1980 by Harry Chapin who was a songwriter, singer, and social activist.
The main leaders of this club are the senior students and each year when the leaders graduate, the ones below them will become the new leaders of the club. They are the ones who organize the volunteering and community service that the club participates in.
Amy Joy Hellermann, another student member of the club, said, “right now we’re planning on organizing a group of students and club members to volunteer and help out the community. Hopefully we can get this started in May before school ends.”
The last time the club took a part in community service was at the Salvation Army, in the town of Riverhead, during the month of March. “It was really great,” said member Marissa Hellermann. “We gave out meals to people who needed them. They consisted of healthy servings of potatoes, meat, vegetables, and bread. Personally handing out the dishes made me realize how great of a thing I was taking part in.”
Amy Joy Hellermann also spoke of another community service act the club participated in recently. “We went to an elementary school in riverhead and taught the children about their health and why it is so important to remain healthy as they grow up. It was great working with the kids and teaching them something that they may not realize now, but will ultimately be very important as they grow older.”
If you are interested in educating and helping people with their health, the club leaders encourage you to come to the Eastern campus and sign up to be a member. Whether you are a member of the Eastern campus or another, you don’t even need to be nutrition major; an interest in the topic is all you need to join.