Two UF students dressed in banana and grape costumes gave passersby colorful balloons.
With the balloons, students made their own stress balls by filling them up with flour on the Plaza of the Americas as part of activities for Get Fruved’s stress-management week.
The group taught students how to de-stress at their "Stress-Ball-Making and Dog-Walk-Taking" event Tuesday afternoon.
Get Fruved stands for "get your fruits and vegetables." The research project aims to improve students’ diets, increase their physical activity and educate them on how to manage stress, said Christina Bracey, a member of the group’s social marketing intervention team. The movement especially focuses on freshmen.
"We try to make things fun and enjoyable for the freshmen," she said.
At the event, Leeashaa Ramoutar, who is also part of the intervention team, encouraged students to grab balloons and make stress balls. She said the UF chapter of Get Fruved will teach students each week how to live a healthy life.
"We’re trying to implement healthier living in mainly freshmen, but also everyone on campus," the 21-year-old said. "It’s so important because even something as small as time and stress management, like this, can go a far way in terms of affecting your diet and how you sleep and how you live."
One of the most popular activities at the event was playing with UPD dogs, which can serve as a stress reliever, Sgt. Ellen Duffy said.
"I know a lot of students we meet miss their dogs they leave at home." she said. "Getting the chance to pet a dog and interact with a dog is relaxing and comforting."
The dogs, two Labrador retrievers and a German Shepherd, were trained for explosive detection. But Tuesday, they licked students who kneeled in the grass to play with them.
Three freshmen friends from Fort Myers attended the event together.
UF exploratory student Josey Mayer said she has a Doberman puppy at home and liked playing with the dogs. She smiled and squatted down to pet Rocky, a 6-year-old German shepherd.
"I think dogs are the best way to de-stress," the 18-year-old said.
Her friend, UF criminology and law student Katherine Strange, who has a German shepherd mix back home, also said she was happy to meet Rocky.
"You know when your dog runs to the door excited to greet you?" Strange, 18, said. "I miss that."
Leeashaa Ramoutar hugs Boomer, a 2 1/2-year-old black lab and UPD explosive detection K9 on Oct. 6, 2015. Officer Dale Holmes brought Boomer to Get FRUVED’s stress management event on the Plaza of the Americas.
In costume as a bunch of grapes, UF criminology junior and member of Get FRUVED’s Grape Team Sam Robinson, 20, fills a balloon with flour to make a stress ball. The event invited students to make the balls and play with dogs Tuesday afternoon to encourage healthy stress management.
Isabel Carrizales, a 21-year-old UF dietetics junior, starts to write “You can do it!” on a handmade stress ball on the Plaza of the Americas on Oct. 6, 2015. Students made the balls with balloons and flour as part of Get FRUVED’s Time Management Week.
Students make stress balls out of balloons and flour on the Plaza of the Americas on Oct. 6, 2015. About 75 people stopped to participate in Get FRUVED’s stress management activities.