About uwecswat

The Student Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT) is a group of peer health educators who educate the UW-Eau Claire campus on a variety of health and wellness topics. Our goal is to educate and inform about the myths, facts, or the unknowns surrounding your health and wellness. Submit any questions you have under the "contact" tab!

Just Bag It! Fashion Show 2018

On Thursday, April 26th the UWEC Bedsider reps participated in an awesome event put on to promote sustainability throughout our campus community. This event was called the Just Bag It Fashion show, and different campus organizations could submit an outfit that they created which is made entirely out of reused and recycled materials. Of course our group is always trying to find creative new ways to promote sexual health on campus, so we thought that we would have our design utilize sexual health materials, such as condoms.

One of the rules of the competition was that every item on a team’s outfit had to be made from reusable, recyclable materials that would otherwise be designated as trash. The UWEC Bedsider reps work in conjunction with the Office of Health Promotion on campus, which provides condoms free of charge to all students (how awesome is this??). Since this office gives out so many free condoms, there have been some extras that have built up over the years. A few months ago we found a huge bag of condoms that had expired in 2012, so instead of just throwing them away, we decided to incorporate the expired condoms into our outfit for the fashion show!

The skirt of our outfit had a base that was a used bag from a recycling bin. We then stapled as many expired condoms as we could fit onto the trash bag, as well as some expired packets of lube. For the top we used a reusable shopping bag that we cut into a halter top. For a fun design, we decided to hot glue soda can tabs into a chevron pattern. We also included some bedside pins around the neck and the bottom of the top! To top it all off, our lovely model Hanna wore a headpiece that was also made out of expired condoms.


This event was such a fun night! It was awesome to see all of the hard work and creativity the other groups put into their outfits. After deliberations from the judges, we learned that our outfit won first place! It was the perfect ending to a great night, and it was really fun to work together to create an outfit that promoted sexual health and sustainability.





5 Reasons why you should stop drinking soda

Five Reasons Why You Should Stop Drinking Soda


Soda is one of those unnsodaecessary things that has reared its ugly head into our lives. It’s served in every restaurant, found in every convenience store, I walk into my grandma’s house and one of the first things she’ll ask me is “Do you need a soda or something?”. It’s everywhere, and it’s hard to fight the temptation of a ice cold coke, or whatever your preferred type might be. The average American drinks 45 gallons of soda each year, that’s nearly 500 cans in 365 days, and just under 2 cans per day. It’s hard to fight the craving but there are multiple reasons why you should think twice before grabbing an ice cold can of pop.


 1.     The Health Risks


Drinking soda contributes greatly to America’s obesity.  Studies have shown that drinking two cans of soda per day can increase your risks of obesity by 32.8 percent and 54.5 percent if consuming diet soda. The risk is higher because the sugar substitutes used to make diet sodas have been shown to increase hunger overall throughout the day after consumption.

Consuming even one soda per day will increase your chance of suffering from diabetes by 40 percent claims the American Heart Association. There is also research being done every day about the increased risk of multiple types of cancer in individuals who have drank at least one soda per day for a majority of their life.

Numbers and scary life threatening health issues aside, the more common knowledge is that soda can be very harmful to your teeth and bones, which is true. One can of soda can contain up to three different types of acid, one of the main types being phosphoric acid that has many uses aside from being an ingredient in soda, such as stripping dirt and chemicals from steel in preparation for being painted. If someone handed you a Dixie cup of metal stripping chemical how willing would you be to drink it? Not that drinking soda is that extreme of a scenario, but it’s something to consider. Additionally, the many different types of acid can damage the protective coating or enamel on your teeth and increase the rate of decay. Similarly, it has also been proven to decrease bone mass throughout your body because the acids sucks the calcium out of your bones making them thinner, weaker, and more brittle which can put you at risk for more health problems such as osteoporosis.


2.     It’s not worthwhile caloric intake


The average can of soda is about 250 calories, and within those 250 calories there are little to no vitamins or nutrients, so basically you’re wasting 250 calories of your daily intake on something that really isn’t benefitting your body or energy level in any way. It’s mostly sugar and caffeine which don’t even have a recommended daily intake according to the FDA.


3.     You’ll still feel thirsty


While a cold can of Coke might feel mentally refreshing it’s not really helping your body hydrate. Soda contains caffeine and caffeine is known to be a diuretic, which causes your body to not retain any of the fluids it intakes to hydrate your body causing dehydration which can lead to many other uncomfortable symptoms like head ache and fatigue but will also leave you feeling thirsty and like you need to drink more.


4.     It’s addictive


Caffeine doesn’t make something taste any different so why do they put it in soda? One reason and one reason only, caffeine is addictive. Soda companies use it to get their consumers hooked and dependent upon their product so they keep buying it. Not only does caffeine do things to your body that aren’t great like I mentioned above but it causes you to become dependent upon it which can be unhealthy.


5.     It hurts your wallet


How much our soda drinking habits cost us is not something we really think about or want to think about for that matter. However, looking at the cost for some people is more eye opening than the health issues that “could” happen, because it’s an effect we can easily see and measure in our own habits.


Let’s do some figuring; say you buy soda from the vending machine at work or school, likely one before lunch and one for the afternoon at $1 each (the average cost of a vending machine soda), that costs you $2 every day, doesn’t seem like a lot but if you add it up its nearly $730 per year on something that has no nutritional value and can be detrimental to your health. How many other things are you comfortable dropping nearly a thousand dollars on? Probably not very many things.


Maybe that’s not selling quitting soda for you, here’s another way to look at it, the average 12 pack of soda costs a little over four dollars and contains 250 calories of little to no nutritional value. A gallon of milk contains 16 servings that’s four more servings than the soda, contains calcium and many other vitamins and minerals in only half the calories at about 110, and costs less at only about three dollars.

Kicking the poor habit could improve your health and your wallet why wouldn’t you at least consider the idea?













Meet a SWAT Member!

Meet Mariah!22549526_10212439192067958_2063591055960246928_n

Year in school: Freshman

Hometown: Baraboo, WI

Major: Business Undecided

Favorite healthy snack: Clementine’s, Dried Mangos

Favorite way to exercise: Hiking, Running

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?: Robin’s Egg

Interesting fact: I have a huge family!


Coffee V. Tea

Coffee Versus Tea

Analyzing the health pros and cons of America’s two favorite warm drinks

By: Mariah Deyo


I can get up and get moving with my day without a cup of caffeine! Scratch that, literally. For me, getting up in the morning  is a feat near impossible without the knowledge of cta nice warm caffeinated drink on the horizon. I have been a coffee consumer since age 7 when my dad let me sneak sips of coffee from his mug before school. It wasn’t until recently that I began consuming tea in the morning, which got me to thinking- what are the health benefits, if any, that are associated with drinking tea and with drinking coffee? Thus, I began my research.

As the deep-rooted java drinker that I am, I began my studies with coffee. Coffee was first discovered in the forests of the Ethiopian plateau by a goat herder Kaldi. He noticed that whenever his goats ate the “berries” from the cocoa tree, they were so energetic that they could not fall asleep. So, as the legend goes, he brought some of these magical fruits back with him, creating the drink which many have grown to love. Monastery’s in Ethiopia began to consume this drink to keep them awake during long hours of prayer, and similarly coffee replaced alcohol for breakfast in Europe after they found it made them more energized and ready to take on the day.

Regardless of how the jitter juice came to be, research found that there are plenty of positive health benefits to drinking coffee. Coffee consumers were found to have lower risks of liver disease, decreased likelihood of Alzheimer’s, and lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, coffee contains antioxidants which enhance cognitive function and memory. As for the health downfalls, any coffee consumer has experienced “the jitters” following too much coffee; conditions including heart palpitations, anxiety, and nausea. Additionally, over 1000 chemicals have been found in roasted coffee, with 19 of which being known carcinogens. For those of us who often enjoy a dark chocolate mocha from the Cabin in Davies, or possibly a delicious frappucino from Starbuck’s- be aware of the amounts of fats, sugars, and calories that you are consuming. Depending on how quickly you metabolize, heightened cholesterol and weight gain might come consequently to overconsumption.

Now, onto the history of tea. Two legends exist upon where tea first originated. Based in China, 2737 B.C.E., Emperor Shen Nong was evidently boiling water in his garden when a leaf from a wild tea tree fell into his pot. After tasting his water, he discovered he enjoyed the flavor and conducted research on its health properties. The next legend goes that in India, Year 520, Prince Bodhi-Dharma left to preach Buddhism in China. To prove the Zen principles, he vowed to meditate for 9 years, however he fell asleep. Allegedly, when he woke up, he cut off his eyelid and a tea tree sprung up on the spot to “sanctify his sacrifice”. Whatever the case may be, tea has been the most popular beverage second to water for centuries.

Similarly, to coffee, tea is filled with antioxidants and cancer fighting properties. The different types of teas are proven to inhibit a variety of health benefits. Green tea reduces esophageal cancer, black tea lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol; and white tea inhibits the growth of fat cells. However, too much consumption can cause heart palpitations and restlessness. Additionally, as tea contains fluoride, there is an increased risk of bone brittleness and osteofluorosis, an access of fluoride found in the bones. Depending where the tea is from, there is additional concern for pesticides to be found in the tea as well.

Rejoice coffee and tea connoisseurs! Both coffee and tea are shown to be beneficial to our health and rarely detrimental to it. Coffee content varies in each beverage, with an 8 oz. coffee containing 75-165 mg and an 8 oz. tea containing 26 mg. Your choice in your breakfast brew is up to you, whether you chose bitter or sweet, iced or hot. Regardless, we can keep our tea kettles whistling and our coffee makers running.











How Your Diet Affects Mood and Brain Function

Your Brain on Food: Understanding How Your Diet Affects Mood and Brain Function


If we’re all being honest here, eating healthy is hard when you’re in college. First off, its more expensive than processed and boxed foods. Its more work, you actually have to cook fresh foods, like planning and cutting and prepping everything and then turning on the oven and using it, not to mention how much extra time that takes compared to throwing a TV dinner in the microwave. Or if you’re like me you’re constantly on the go so it’s rare you have time to sit down and eat a full meal, your snacking in between classes and other activities. The worst part is we don’t think about how much our lazy or rushed eating habits affect our mood and brain function, and when you’re a student your brain needs to be functioning at full capacity.



It’s simple as Harvard Health puts it, your brain is like your car, it runs the best when you’re pumping in premium fuel. As soon as you start filling your tank with lower grade fuel chalked full of fillers and preservatives your car just simply doesn’t run as well. Similarly, when you are eating whole unprocessed grains, fruits and vegetables or foods that are high in vitamins and minerals your mood is better and your body can run easier but if you’re constantly ingesting processed foods with refined sugars it can take a toll on your brains ability to run cleanly.


The nutritional value in whatever you are eating is absorbed by healthy bacteria normally present in your intestinal tract, also in your intestinal tract are millions of nerve endings that release a neurotransmitter called serotonin that helps to regulate sleep, appetite, mood and can help inhibit pain. The bacteria, like any living organism, flourish on fresh healthy and unprocessed foods, if the bacteria are receiving healthy amounts of vitamins the nerve endings will be more active and release more serotonin more frequently which often improves mood and lowers the risk of depression. When the bacteria in your gut are happy! Studies have shown that people who follow traditional Mediterranean diets or Japanese type diets (diets that contain modest amounts of lean meat, are high in fresh vegetables, nuts, fish and healthy oils, and low in dairy) compared to a typical western diet that is high in processed grains and refined sugars have a 25-35% lower risk of suffering from mood disorders like depression.


That being said, it would be great if we could all just drop our bad eating habits and start fresh on a happy brain diet but that is unrealistic for majority of people, not just college students.


One way to gradually work up to a happy brain diet is by slowly cutting out foods or groups of food that can poorly effect our bodies. Harvard suggests cutting out dairy, or going grain free, it’s also always good to cut down on your sugar intake.


Another way to look at it is immediate feeling versus the long term feeling. Yeah, it will feel great to eat that chocolate bar or bag of chips right now and you’ll likely experience a short term emotional lift but thinking more long term, even that night or the next day for example it won’t feel great anymore. Whereas eating an apple or some carrots is more sustainable and will give you more energy and improve your mood over a longer period of time.


Maybe cutting things from your diet just isn’t in the cards for you, and that’s okay! Try adding nutritious foods to your already existing diet. For example, add salmon to your shopping list, or foods that are high in probiotics like yogurt. Yogurt is the best way to get probiotics next to taking a probiotic supplement, similar to a daily vitamin. Berries like blueberries are great for mood improvement and can help prevent cancer.  Nuts are another option, especially cashews and work when you find yourself eating on the go. Chances are if you begin to incorporate these foods in you”ll begin to favor them and eat less of the unhealthy foods.


Next time you’re at the store before you pick something off the shelf think to yourself “would my brain like that?”


Sources and Helpful Links:





Heart Health

5 Tips for Being Heart Healthy pexels-photo-416443.jpeg

Unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, attributing to 1 in every 4 deaths. Since February is heart disease awareness month, here are five strategies for keeping your heart healthy. ☺

1. Exercise

Exercise has so many benefits, including preventing conditions that contribute to heart disease, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. It is recommended that you get 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Remember that it doesn’t always have to be strenuous exercise, even going for a walk, housekeeping, gardening, or taking the stairs counts towards your total. Do what works for you!

2. Eat Heart Healthy

Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help limit your risk for heart disease. Limit eating foods high in fat as well, such as red meat, deep fried foods, and foods high in sugar which can lead to conditions that increase risk of heart disease.

3. Know how to manage stress

Being able to manage your stress in a positive way will help you in so many aspects of your health, not just mentally but physically as well! High stress levels can contribute to high blood pressure. If you often find yourself tense and on edge, try different strategies to relax yourself and relieve some stress.

4. Get Quality sleep

People who are lacking in sleep or have poor quality sleep can have negative effects on your mood, mental alertness, energy level, and overall health. Make sure you are practicing good sleep hygiene such as having a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and looking at a screen before bed.

5. Get regular health screenings

Making sure you get regular check ups with your primary physician is important in knowing where your health is at and what you can do to improve it. Catching warning signs is important, and preventing heart disease is always better than managing heart disease.
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle improves your overall health, gives you more energy and focus throughout the day, and helps prevent other health conditions. For more health information, see:

the Rest Nest

We are fast approaching the middle of the semester and I am already SO. STRESSED. Anyone else?!laptop

Luckily for UWEC students, a magical place specifically designed to help us de-stress has just recently opened on the 5th floor of our very own McIntyre Library, and it’s totally FREE!


The Rest Nest is located in 5011 and has the absolute best view of the river- don’t believe us? Come check it out for yourself! We also have fun stuff to help you relax like two massage chairs, a foot massager, a giant bean bag chair, floam, kinetic sand, putty, a zen garden, a meditation board, coloring pages and supplies, fun lights, and puzzles, with relaxing music on top of all of that! mm

 We will also be hosting 30-minute activities called Meaningful Minutes, in which members of our staff will put together a short, guided program for an even deeper relaxation. Watch for Meaningful Minutes scheduling and program announcements on our Facebook page, which you can “like” by searching “UW-Eau Claire Student Health Service, Health Promotion, SWAT”!   

Our staff consists of trained peer support specialists from both the Student Wellness Advocacy Team and SPARC (Suicide Prevention and Research Collaborative) who are there to support and to connect you with on-campus resources.



            Sundays 4PM-6PM

            Mondays 11AM-1PM and 7PM-9PM

            Tuesdays 11AM-3PM

            Wednesdays 12PM-4PM and 7PM-9PM

            Thursdays 1PM-3PM

            Fridays 11AM-1PM


Check out the Rest Nest, Blugolds, and remember- relax, recharge, and repeat!