Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Health Hut takes ‘Cash Cab’ approach to students’ health education

Fans of the Discovery Channel’s “Cash Cab” can now experience the show first-hand. The health edition, that is. The University of Alabama’s Department of Health Promotion and Wellness is implementing a new educational outreach method: driving students around campus and asking them health-related questions for prizes.

Starting March 4, Health Hut interns and health ambassadors will drive their fellow students to their classes in the “$wagon,” a Global Electric Motorcar with the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness emblem etched on its sides. The peer educators will ask UA students questions about the health topic of the week during the free ride to class and dole out giveaways in turn for participating.

“It’s a different way for us to reach out to students,” said Jessica Vickery, assistant director of health education and promotion and advisor for the Health Hut and Project Health. “We’re always looking for different ways to reach out to students. It’s a positive way to influence positive behavior changes.”

Last fall, in a conference in Orlando, Vickery learned of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s mock “Cash Cab.” The comparatively much smaller school had higher outreach numbers than the Health Hut, so Vickery decided to bring a similar concept to the University.

“It’s cool, different and it catches people’s attention,” Vickery said. “And we can do it with any type of weather.”

Not to mention, students don’t even have to get the questions right to win a prize. The prizes vary from buttons, koozies and piña colada-scented hand sanitizers to cups and T-shirts. Much like “Cash Cab,” students are given points for the questions answered. The number of points a student is awarded will determine the type of giveaway they win.

There are four seats in the $wagon – one for the driver, one for the person asking questions and two for participating students. Health Hut Intern Brianna Vivian, a senior majoring in nutrition, is one of the trained drivers for the $wagon.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Vivian said. “Who doesn’t want a free ride to class and free stuff? I think people will be really excited to get involved.”

Students can find the $wagon in action from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Health Hut outside Lloyd Hall and on Thursdays on the opposite side of the Quad by Carmichael Hall. They may also wave down the car if they see it driving around campus with no one in it, Vickery said.

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