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New workshop educates students on health issues

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Instructor Patricia McGuire educates students on nutrition and energy during the second Wellness Tuesdays workshop.
Carter Fitness Center is reaching to new lengths to share knowledge of health and wellness on the Amarillo College campuses by starting a free workshop called Wellness Tuesdays. The workshop is conducted on the Washington Street Campus. CFC Instructor Tricia McGuire said the initiative for Wellness Tuesdays came from Dr. Deborah Vess, vice president of academic affairs. McGuire agreed to take up the new project because she has had many years of experience in the field. “The goal would be just to educate the campus, or just anyone interested Amarillo College wide, in wellness,” McGuire said. Craig Clifton, department chairman and a CFC instructor, said the vision for Wellness Tuesdays is “to provide something for faculty, staff and students that is fitness- and wellness-related outside the walls of Carter Fitness Center.” If the people who go to the fitness center are the only ones to hear health and wellness tips, then the rest of the campus is under educated. To broaden this horizon of health and wellness, the Lunch n’ Learn workshop was created, and it is offered from noon to 1 p.m each Tuesday. After two weeks of the workshop, there already have been positive outcomes. “I went to the class over coping with stress, and I learned that the ways I typically deal with stress actually make me just as, if not more, stressed,” said Kaylee Hall, a psychology major. McGuire, the instructor of the workshop, has a bachelor’s degree in community health and a master’s in sport and exercise science. The other CFC instructors also give ideas and information for topics of discussion. “Having my co-workers give more and diverse knowledge for the topics is very helpful,” McGuire said. For more information, call McGuire at 371-5285 or email her at Read more [...]

Backpacks: Lighten load, avoid aches

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Every Monday and Wednesday, music major Thomas Beck walks from his home past Arthur Street on 27th Avenue to the Amarillo College Washington Street Campus. He packs his backpack full of his books for that day, which makes it about 25 pounds after adding binders and an iPad. “I don’t have a good, sturdy backpack, cause they all rip and tear like the one I have now,” Beck said. There are many different types of backpacks and different ways a student can wear them. There’s the two-strap backpack, which is designed to use both straps to get it as close to the wearer’s back as possible. Debbie Collins, an education for physical sciences major, has that type of backpack and said she uses both straps so it’s more comfortable. Her busiest days are Mondays and Wednesdays when she has a laptop, two one-inch binders for class, math and English books and a couple of pens and pencils. The average weight is about 25 pounds. Declan Hershey, a religion major, has a different type of bag. His side-bag, also known as a messenger bag, has only one strap that goes across his chest and hangs on one side. “I like it because it’s more versatile to where I can open it while it’s still on,” Hershey said. “While it’s still on, I can turn in papers without taking it off.” Jamie McCarrell, a pharmacy instructor from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Amarillo campus, said carrying a heavy backpack can have many effects on a student. But one remains consistent. “Back problems mostly,” McCarrell said. Keeping the weight of a backpack low and monitoring the amount of time it is worn can help reduce the risks of injuries. Wearing particular styles of backpacks correctly also can reduce most back problems. Some students make it a point to keep the load in their pack to a minimum. Jasmine Cordova, an elementary education major, and Trevor Brown, a welding technologies major, said they keep theirs light. “My textbooks aren’t very thick Read more [...]

Vaccination requirement ‘big issue’

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By Christopher Copeland Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, new college students, including transfers and students returning from a break in enrollment, will be required to be vaccinated for bacterial meningitis before being eligible for enrollment in any Texas institution of higher learning. That includes Amarillo College. “It’s a big issue in terms of enrollment,” said Dr. Robert Austin, vice president of student affairs at AC. “It’s the most significant enrollment issue the college has ever faced.” Austin said the new law could affect anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 students. “The best-case scenario is that every student who wanted to enroll at AC could get the vaccine free of charge,” he said. “The vaccine, which state officials said would be offered for free, has yet to be seen.” The Amarillo City Health Department offers the shot for $10, but there is a shortage and it is on a first-come, first-served basis. Students can get the vaccination at Walgreen’s for $133.99 if they do not have insurance. Austin said he believes many incoming students do not have health insurance to help with the high price. In addition to potential AC students, an estimated 1,200 students waiting to enroll at West Texas A&M University for the spring 2012 semester need the vaccination. Dan Garcia, vice president of enrollment management at WT, said its medical center will offer vaccinations on campus for a fee. He said the “big challenge” is going to be availability. “This is a bunch of crap,” said Kaleb Green, who will be an incoming freshman in the spring. “It’s going to be hard enough for me to pay for books, let alone come up with another $135 for this. If it’s such a big deal, then why don’t the staff and returning students have to get the shot?” The bacterial meningitis vaccine has been a requirement for students living on campus at several colleges and universities nationwide, including WT. Texas is the first state Read more [...]

VIDEO: No Excuses 5k 2011

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Image by Trey Holt

Amarillo College participates in the second annual No Excuses 5K.

5k run leaves ‘No Excuses’

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Community, students faculty participate for education initiative By Vanessa Garcia The No Excuses 5K Run/Walk will be at 9 a.m. Saturday on the Washington Street Campus. The run/walk was created to support Amarillo College's partnership with the San Jacinto Elementary School "No Excuses University" initiative. "It's promoting the No Excuses University with the healthy side of things," said Trena Rider, an intramural specialist. "There's no excuse not to go to college, and there's no excuses not to be healthy," she said. The run/walk will have prizes for San Jacinto families to win. The top AC employee will win a gift certificate, and the top male and female AC student will win a $500 scholarship. Any AC student who participates will have a chance to win a $250 bookstore scholarship in a drawing. Community members will get prizes, too. "We give different medals to different age groups for the community members," Rider said. Rider said Eric Ross, a biotechnology major, came up with the idea last year. "I wanted to see if we could get more people involved by doing events like 5Ks and maybe bike races, anything like that," Ross said. "Just something to get the community involved. "I'd like to see Amarillo kind of be like Austin, where a lot of people are out doing something active. At the same time, it's just kind of fun. "Trena, she took my idea to heart, so a lot of the credit goes to her for getting it started. I threw the idea by her, and she made it happen." Rider said AC students and employees, San Jacinto residents and community members are invited to participate. The event is open to anyone age 10 and up. "Last year we ran an evening race, and so it brought a lot more outside people," Rider said. "But just for safety reasons, we decided to move to a Saturday morning this year." So far 114 people have registered; 57 are AC students, and more than 20 are AC employees. Ross said he thinks about 150 people Read more [...]

Healthy ways to energize your day

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Photo by Joshua Wagner
Opinion by Kaylin Kennedy Most people out there will tell you, "I just don't have enough energy to get through the day," instead of looking for the answer in other places, which is usually caused from a lack of sleep or poor diet, American's want the quick fix. That's where energy shots and drinks come in. What people fail to realize is that this quick fix isn't always the answer. Whole foods, such as nuts or fruits can provide the body with not only an energy boost as well as vital nutrients, but they also lack the side effects that come from energy drinks, and these habits of healthy eating can be passed down to posterity. Some healthy habits can be as simple grabbing a banana to munch on your way to school or work. Bananas are usually available year round in most supermarkets, they're cheap, and can last up to several weeks. Bananas contain large amounts of potassium. An article on says, "Sufficient potassium in your diet helps soothe feelings of anxiety, irritability and stress." Another thing you can do during the day when you need a little extra boost is munch on some almonds. Almonds are not only tasty and sweet, but they contain serotonin. Serotonin according to, "Changes in the serotonin levels in the brain can alter the mood," it is also known as the "happy hormone." One day I saw a woman in a checkout line with several kids wiggling around, so it was clear to me that she was a busy mother. She was purchasing several energy shots and jokingly admitted that she planned to consume four of the energy shots within that day. Now from what I understand people metabolize caffeine, ginseng and sugar, (which are normally found in energy drinks), differently from person to person. According to WebMd, "Large doses [of caffeine] may be UNSAFE and can cause irregular heartbeats and even death." Also in an article on, "If a person drinks too much ginseng, a common ingredient of energy Read more [...]
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