With welcoming signs of spring everywhere on campus, Montclair State celebrated the season of rebirth with a Health & Wellness Expo on March 25 that embraced exercise, healthy eating and rejuvenation. The event connected a sizeable student, community and University audience with a room full of entrepreneurs, influencers and advocates who are prioritizing positive living.
Bobbi Brown, who launched a billion-dollar beauty business on the idea of natural beauty, acknowledged the pressures of campus life in sharing her philosophy for well-being in a conversation with Jillian Pransky, author of “Deep Listening” and a mindfulness teacher and certified yoga therapist.
“You can’t feel attractive or beautiful if you don’t feel good,” Brown said. “A lot of times when you look in the mirror and say, ‘I look terrible,’ take a minute and realize how you’ve been treating yourself lately. Are you overworked? Are you not drinking enough water? Are you stressed? Too much homework? Too many things? You know, we all have really stressful lives.”
The event was hosted by Montclair State’s Department of Nutrition and Food Studies. The University’s exercise science, nursing, public health and teaching programs collaborated to bring nearly 40 diverse organizations and businesses to campus for the Health & Wellness Expo. “We sought to highlight the broad and innovative nature of the industry, while showcasing businesses and organizations that reflect the current trends within the industry,” said Alison Javens, clinical specialist in Nutrition and Food Studies.
There was much to sample and see, meal prepping, juicing, probiotics, CBD, essential oils, whole grain breads and gluten-free alternatives. AeroFarms, an indoor vertical farm, and traditional growers were joined by nutrition, movement and wellness service companies. The full menu of healthy options included everything from a nutritious dessert that tastes like Nestle Crunch to a drinkable gazpacho. Alumni showcased their ventures, including Martine Acanfora, owner of My Meal Prep, and Yasmin Essa, a holistic health coach and founder of Wellness with Yasmin.
Lindsey Inserra, vice president health & wellness Inserra Supermarkets ShopRite, shared her personal journey of diabetes awareness and commitment to bringing in-store registered dietitians to the family-owned chain of grocery stores.
Brown highlighted how her commitment to confidence and self-esteem, embodied by her former cosmetic brand, has evolved into a modern lifestyle platform and company, Beauty Evolution, for wellness, beauty and travel. The ventures include a hotel, digital magazine, podcast and dietary supplements.
“What is confidence, really?” she asked. “Confidence isn’t, ‘I’m cocky and cool,’ it just means you’re comfortable with who you are. The good thing about getting older, you realize all the things you cared about when you were younger, don’t really matter. The things that matter, are really the things that matter.”
Throughout the year, Montclair State brings a range of wellness and health programs to campus. Nutrition, sleep and relaxation workshops improve student health, mood and stress levels. Counseling services help with students’ emotional well-being. During finals, ponies and puppies are cute and reliable stress busters.
University dining, meanwhile, has created new menus with allergen-free and vegan-friendly foods. There is also an emphasis on environmental responsibility, with students taking the lead on sustainability events and programs, including composting to manage food waste and bringing produce grown at the Montclair Community Farm to the campus food pantry.