Classic tips for a timeless spring break

March 7, 2011

by John Lucas

As University of Wisconsin-Madison students count down the hours until spring break begins, University Health Services (UHS) is celebrating its 100th anniversary of supporting student health and finding that some advice never goes out of style.

"People think spring break has to be this wild time," says Sarah Van Orman, executive director of UHS, "when, in fact, most students stay around Madison with friends or head to their family's home to relax.

"The most important thing to do this week is recharge your batteries so you're ready for the second half of the semester," adds Van Orman. "Get a little exercise and a lot of sleep, and you'll be in much better shape to manage your stress in the weeks ahead."

UHS will be open Monday through Thursday of spring break week (but closed on Friday, March 18, for a UW-Madison furlough day).

Students who want to talk to a mental health or wellness counselor can drop in at UHS Counseling and Consultation Services between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 333 East Campus Mall (seventh floor).

To make an appointment for an STI test, routine physical or any other medical need, call UHS during business hours at 608-265-5600.

For help with a mental health crisis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, call UHS at 608-265-5600 (option 9).

In addition, to make sure your return to campus is as healthy and safe as your departure, UHS and the Division of Student Life are offering the following reminders:

  • If your plans include travel outside of the U.S., whether on vacation or on an Alternative Spring Break, please pay careful attention to the State Department advisories. The university currently recommends against travel to northern Mexico, following a September State Department travel advisory:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/safety/safety_2836.html

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_4755.html

Remember to respect the people, culture, and laws of the country in which you're a guest.

  • If you leave Madison, lock your doors and windows. Secure valuable items such as bikes, scooters, computers and iPods.
  • Don't climb on balconies, and never sit on railings.
  • If you choose to drink, decide before you go out how many drinks will be your limit, and avoid drinking games.
  • If a member of your group passes out, turn the person on their side to prevent choking and call 911 immediately.
  • Carry and use condoms.
  • Wear sunscreen of at least 15 SPF.
  • Make sure your friends and relatives know where you will be and when you expect to return. Call friends or family members to let them know that you have arrived and returned safely. If you leave the country, make sure a relative in the U.S. has a copy of your passport.
  • When traveling, keep a healthy skepticism about people you've just met.
  • If someone in your group experiences a sexual assault, call 800-656-HOPE for a rape crisis service near you, or in Madison, contact the Rape Crisis Center's 24-hour hotline: 608-251-RAPE.

An on-call dean is always available for a confidential appointment in the Student Assistance and Judicial Affairs unit of the Division of Student Life. Call for an appointment at 608-263-5700.

Visit this site for more information about safety at UW-Madison, http://www.safeu.wisc.edu.