One Health Week at Delaware Valley University
The week of Nov. 3 through Nov. 9 was Delaware Valley University’s first annual One Health Week. As a student participant on the One Health Committee and an intern in the marketing and communications office, I was involved in the One Health Week process from start to finish.
The One Health Committee came up with the idea to have a full week celebrating One Health and involving the campus community in One Health-related activities. The goal was to promote campus-wide awareness of One Health. We wanted faculty and students to see how their disciplines rely upon and affect other fields in achieving wellbeing for plants, people, and animals.
We began preparing for One Health Week in October.
I created a video about what One Health means to share with the campus community leading up to One Health Week. While the committee was working on developing a schedule of events, I started interviewing students and faculty about One Health. Having very little filming and editing experience, it was a little intimidating at first. However, I ended up enjoying the process. Check out the final product at delval.edu/onehealth.
Reg Hoyt, co-chair of the Department of Animal Biotechnology and Conservation, wanted most of the events to be student-led. To involve students, a club competition was created. Participating clubs were tasked with painting a window on the Student Center for a chance to win $250. The theme was “What does One Health mean to you?” Below are the clubs that participated along with their windows’ titles:
- Alpha Phi Omega – Freddy the Frog and One Health
- American Association of Zoo Keepers – Wildlife Trafficking
- Animal Lifeline – Responsible Pet Ownership
- Delta Epsilon Beta – DEB Saves the Dolphins
- Ducks Unlimited – Conserve Our Wetlands
- Pre-Veterinary Club – Trust Vaccines
- Student Government – Giving Back
- The Wildlife Society – One Life, One World, One Health
- Women’s Wrestling Club – Reduce the Carbon Footprint While Refreshing the Spirit
While I was hanging up flyers for One Health, I had the chance to stop and see the completed windows; they were all well done and artistically impressive. Each painting captured the concept of One Health and how it related to that club’s purpose. One of my personal favorites was “DEB Saves the Dolphins” – how can you resist an adorable painting of dolphins?
The winner of the competition was the Pre-Veterinary Club. Judges from three of DelVal’s colleges – Dr. Alicia Shenko (representing the School of Life and Physical Sciences), Dr. Robin Shedlauskas (representing the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences), and Dr. Jack Schmidt (representing the School of Business and Humanities).
When Reg first mentioned that he would like to have a student speaker series representing different disciplines, I knew I wanted to participate and speak for the business side of One Health. Earlier this year, Reg had sent me a webinar he watched regarding conservation marketing, and we talked about how interesting it would be if I could somehow get involved in that field in order to combine my interests in media, marketing, and the environment. For my presentation, "Conservation Marketing: Communicating Green Ideas," I did some research on conservation marketing. As soon as I started my project, I could see how multiple fields were colliding to accomplish their goals. This is what One Health is all about – different disciplines coming together for the wellbeing of plants and animals, the environment, and society.
I started scrolling through my Instagram feed and searching for conservation-related posts and found an overwhelming number of examples that I was excited to share and discuss. I discovered some new marketing strategies relating to conservation such as flagship species branding (the idea of patriotically branding a species that is iconic to an area) and anthropomorphism (giving animals human traits and emotions). I also wanted to discuss rebranding, social media tactics, slacktivism, and emotional appeal.
The student and alumni-led One Health seminars attracted a total of 95 participants throughout the week. Nana Chikhladze '19, an agribusiness alumna, presented "Climate Reality."
Bryan Huerta '19, a conservation and wildlife management alumnus, presented "Complexities of Shark Conservation."
Autumn Heidenthal '20, a zoo science major, talked about "Penguins as Ocean Health Indicators." The passion and detail that the students included in their presentations show how important it is for different disciplines to come together to accomplish One Health goals.
At a One Health forum, students discussed the One Health topics that were most important to them. The end of the week concluded with a successful Mock Disease Outbreak scenario, which involved 11 faculty and staff, 31 students from a variety of majors, and four USDA representatives.
Students and staff also participated in service opportunities in Bucks County.
DelVal’s first One Health week was a success, and I was happy to be a part of it. Not only was I able to learn more about One Health and how it relates to my field, but getting involved in the planning and execution of the week provided me with unique experiences that I will take with me into my career.