Today: Jul 17, 2024

SCSU wins ‘Your Skin Is In’ for number of pledges

(AP PHOTO/THENEWS&;OBSERVER,Chris Seward)Melissa ChickerNews Writer
While students at Southern prepared for Spring Break by working on their tans for the beaches of Florida and Mexico, some opted for a different approach by pledging to shun the sun in an effort to promote skin cancer awareness.
“It is not something to take lightly. Students need to know what they are doing to their skin while tanning,” said Keaghan Hamilton, senior public health major and President of the Public Health Society, who led the effort.
A total of 216 students signed a pledge by Southern’s Public Health Society to avoid inten¬tional tanning before the start of Spring Break this past March. The pledge helped the university to be selected as a winner of the “Your Skin Is In” cam¬paign by the Melanoma Foundation of New England. Southern was one of the four Connecticut colleges chosen.
Other colleges from around New England included Assumption College and Lesley University in Massachusetts. Qualifications included having at least two percent of the undergraduate population at Southern sign the pledge and receive information.
“It is very rewarding to see them working together to come up with ideas like this and to receive recognition is amazing,” said Michele Vancour, asso¬ciate professor of public health and faculty adviser for the Public Health Society. “Their creativity and initiative impresses me.”
Hamil¬ton’s idea for the campaign came from her mother who had brought her a flier on a forum sponsored by the Melanoma Foundation. She quickly got in contact with them, received information on the campaign and began spreading the word among students around campus.
Hamilton, unlike many college students, decided to spend her Spring Break last semester attending a daylong conference in Concord, N.H. where she learned about the dangers of skin cancer, the dangers of tan¬ning beds and ways to protect skin.
“When I was at the conference they had survivors, including college students that shared their stories,” said Hamilton. “I learned it just starts with a little freckle. It creeps up on you if you’re not aware.”
Hamilton said she has been tanning once or twice, but it was never something she liked.
“After learning more about how impor¬tant skin care is in the sun I have taken steps to better my actions by applying sunscreen every two to three hours, as well as wearing hats and sunglasses in a long day outside in the sun,” she said.
There are plenty of other ways to tan your skin without the use of tanning beds and the sun’s harmful rays. Alternatives include spray tanning or using lotions like Jergens Natural Glow.
Hamilton has also been personally affected by the cancer; both her father and grandfather have had skin cancer.
The Melanoma Foundation of New England is based on raising awareness, to educate and prevent skin cancer and melanoma for both children and adults.
“We commend the efforts of young people reaching out to others about the harms of the harmful rays,” said Amy Mason, events manager of the foundation.
Melanoma kill ones person every hour and is the most common cancer among women age 25 to 32. People who use tan¬ning beds once a month before the age of 35 increase their melanoma risk by 75 percent. The foundation suggests protecting your skin by covering up it with long sleeved clothing or using sunscreen with at least SPF 15 or higher.
Along with the “Your Skin Is In” campaign, the Public Health Society also promotes popular topics among peers like texting and driving, breast cancer awareness in October and healthy eating. They are planning to run the pledge again this coming March.

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