By Selene Rodriguez
More than 500 people participated in this year’s South Texas College Harvest of Health, a longstanding tradition for Nursing and Allied Health students that brings the community together to celebrate the skills of the future health care professionals and showcases the medical programs offered at STC.
“It started as an opportunity for our students to show their families what their classes are about and what they have learned, but over the years it has evolved into a community-wide event where we try to educate people about their wellness with health-related activities,” said Aimee Castro, head of the event planning committee.
For Emily Alvarado, a Vocational Nursing student finishing her first semester, this experience gave her a wider perspective of what the college has to offer and is grateful for the chance to start sharing what she has learned with the community.
“I was assigned to take vital signs on people visiting our event, it was an amazing way to bring awareness and educating people on the importance of monitoring your health,” she said. “We also showcased some of the smart manikins we practice on and some of the other tools we use in class. I also had the opportunity to show some of my classmates’ family members how to use a stethoscope.”
Some of the most popular attractions were: a haunted house sponsored by the college’s Emergency Medical Services program, a karaoke therapy session led by the Vocational Nursing program and a massage bar offered by Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) students.
“This is a multipurpose event where our students can bring their friends and family into their world and build their confidence as health care professionals as they share their knowledge with the community,” said PTA Program Chair Diana Hernandez. “It also helps them create that sense of teamwork needed in the medical field, as they interact with students from other careers and get to know what they do.”
A traditional part of the event is a door decorating contest. It is held every year to encourage creativity and collaboration across the campus and this year it was won by the Pharmacy Technician program.
“Post-pandemic we see that students have a bigger desire to work together and enjoy their college experience,” added Hernandez. “It’s well known that health care students go through a rigorous academic journey. They’re so used to staying in the classroom and they miss out on what everybody else is doing. That’s why we promote these types of events, so they can have the opportunity to network, learn from each other and give back. It’s just the best experience for all.”
Grandparents, children, aunts, uncles and other students’ relatives were spotted throughout the campus, engaging in other fall-themed events like a scavenger hunt, carnival games and fundraising activities, organized by allied health faculty, staff and student clubs.
“We also invite public safety entities to come join us because we all share the same mission of serving the community,” added Castro. “This year the McAllen Fire Department and our own STC Fire and Police Academies from the Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence participated as well.”
For more information about programs offered at STC’s Nursing and Allied Health campus, visit nah.southtexascollege.edu or call 956-872-3100.