“What gives YOUR life meaning?”

That is the question the CSU Institute of Palliative Care at Fresno State and the Gerontology Program are asking campus and community members on Wednesday, April 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Free Speech Area. They will partner with the Food Security Project to host a resource fair to provide information on how individuals, particularly students, can lead a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

“In a student survey conducted by the Institute of Palliative Care last year, we found that 10 to 14 percent of students may not have health insurance coverage, 22 percent of students use the health center on campus as their medical home and over a third experience financial difficulty regularly,” said Dr. Helen Miltiades, professor of Geronotology and coordinator of the event.

The survey also found that 40 percent of students are actively engaged in caring for a family member that is a child, is older or has a disability, all factors which can often lead to academic stress for the student.

Over 30 campus and community organizations will be on hand to provide information to address each of these areas, as well as provide food assistance, academic resources and resources for child support, caregivers and loss support groups.

Participants can also be prescreened for CalFresh, donate blood to the Central California Blood Bank and participate in an interactive video that answers the question of “what gives your life meaning?”

“This resource fair will be a great way to learn about campus and community resources,” said Miltiades. “We have many campus resources that students, faculty and staff are not even aware of. We want individuals to learn to identify key components in their life that bring joy and purpose, as well as how to emphasize them for lifelong fulfillment.”

Another goal of the event is to also raise awareness regarding advanced care directives, which expresses an individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment if they cannot speak for themselves. A few of the community organizations will provide details on this.

The event is being planned and implemented by 25 students from Gerontology 10S: Journey of Adulthood – Planning a Meaningful Life. Robert Tapia, a junior majoring in Food Service and Nutrition, said this event serves as an important guide for students that act as caregivers in their personal lives.

“It’s important to teach students about the many options that are available when it comes to palliative care and other services for their elderly loved ones,” said Tapia.

Often times, home responsibilities affect academics for these students, and they may not be aware of what services on campus can actually help them both in their personal and academic lives.

To aide in this, Tapia developed a campus resource directory for students, as well as faculty and staff, that serves as guidebook of all services on campus.

“This project holds a special spot in my heart because I remember how lost I was when I transferred,” said Tapia. “This is why I feel it is important to have one available on campus.  I hope that this book helps future students as they start their journey to their degree.”

Overall, Miltiades said the purpose of the event is for individuals to embrace the important aspects of their life and those around them.

“We want people to start thinking about what brings meaning to their life and find ways to share this meaning with others.”

For more information, contact Miltiades at hmiltiades@csufresno.edu or 559.278.7523.

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