February 25th saw the launch of the Cervical Cancer Vaccine Programme in UCD as a part of Fresh Start Week, which took place on campus for the first time last week. The vaccination is being offered for €299, which stands at close to a fifty per cent discount.

Fresh Start Week was held as an expansion of Health Week, which was held in previous years. It was moved to the start of the year in recognition of students making New Year’s Resolutions.

Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Rachel Breslin explained that the week was divided into four sections: healthy eating, exercise, sexual health, and mental health in order to cover the various resolutions students had undertaken; the objective behind this was to “help students pick one or more of these areas and help them make and keep a healthy habit in that area, or even to give them an idea for a kick-start to a healthier 2012.”

The events organised for Fresh Start Week included wheelchair basketball, a movie night for first years, and a campus-wide survey on sex and sexual health. “The Welfare Crew gave out fresh fruit, there was a live cookery demonstration in the Student Centre with the Health Promotions Committee and a talk by Bodywhys”. A Harry Potter themed quiz was held, which attracted 300 students and raised €1,200 for Bodywhys.

Student feedback from the week has been positive according to Breslin, “I have had several students come in to me because something in the week highlighted and raised awareness on an issue that they themselves are affected by or suffering from, and they hadn’t known who to talk about it to before.”

There are plans for a road safety week and an information campaign aiming to help students secure a part-time job at the end of the year. The next Welfare campaign to be launched is Sexual Health, Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) Week.