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Rachel Brokenshire

Wellness Ambassador Rachel Brokenshire talks about COVID and campus

Wellness ambassadors support the University of Illinois' COVID-19 educational compliance efforts by providing health resources to the university community. The College of Applied Health Sciences is proud to boast several students who are participating in the Wellness Ambassador program. Periodically, we'll speak with a student about what they have encountered in their role. Today, it's Rachel Brokenshire, a student in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health.

Q: What kind of training did you receive to become a Wellness Ambassador?

A: For training, all of us (the Wellness Ambassadors) met with our supervisors over Zoom a week before school started to discuss more about the position. We talked about how things on campus would look different, how to be positive influences while at school, and overall what our tasks would be as a Wellness Ambassador. We also have biweekly training sessions to discuss things like being prepared for interviews, how to post on social media, and different ideas we can bring to life on campus.

Q: What kind of activities are you performing while working?

A: While we are working, there a variety of activities that can be done throughout our shifts. Our main task since the beginning of the school year has been packing “Wellness Kits” that includes a lot of resources about testing, the flu shot, and fun goodies (sunglasses, masks, hand sanitizer). We go out around campus and hand out these bags to students. We have also been to testing sites to pass out fun temporary Illinois tattoos. As Wellness Ambassadors, we are striving to bring more joy and positivity to campus during these confusing times.

Q: How many hours do you work a week?

A: I work between 6-10 hours a week.

Q: Where are you stationed?

A: Before our shifts, we either meet at the Illini Union or at a testing site that we are assigned to. It really depends what our tasks are for that day.

Q: What challenges have you faced in doing the job?

A: I think sometimes encountering people who may not want to wear a mask or seeing very large groups of people in a certain area can be a bit hard to see. As Wellness Ambassadors, our job is to not “police” students around and tell them what to do. We are simply being role models for our peers and when some students do not want to comply, it is a little disheartening. Other than that, the job is very rewarding in itself and I am so proud to be helping my college during a time like this.

Q: What kind of reactions do you get from students or faculty when you encounter them?

A: Mostly, students and staff are so excited that we are handing out free stuff. It is amazing to see others around us happy and thankful for what we are doing. That part of the job is my favorite and knowing that other students are seeing us make a difference on campus is great.

Q: What’s the toughest part of the job?

A: I think the toughest part of the job, as mentioned before, is seeing some people not wanting to comply with the rules on campus. As Wellness Ambassadors, it was hard having to read that email from Chancellor Jones when most of the students here are doing their part to stay on campus this semester. The actions of a few students may cost us the opportunity to stay here for the whole semester and we are trying our best to not let that happen. After the email, we realized we needed to work harder to promote social distancing and wearing a mask while in public, and that is exactly what we did. I am so proud of my fellow Wellness Ambassadors and the amazing work we are doing this year.

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