Therapy Dogs Make Finals Easier

If you’ve been on West Virginia University’s campus in the past few years, you may have seen some furry faces.

In 2013, the university began introducing therapy dogs, trained by the Hearts of Gold program to various colleges and dorms around campus. They are meant to bring stress levels down, especially around the upcoming finals week through various activities and just roaming campus.

There’s Omega, Marlon Brando, and more, each with their own personalities and social media accounts.

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But as another finals week approaches us, do students feel that these animals help them cope?

Makenzie Keepers is with the College of Engineering and says Marlon Brando is a calming presence.

“When you sit in the ELC, he’ll walk around and come up to you and just say hello.”

However, she also says there have been events dedicated to petting the therapy dogs.

“I’ve definitely heard of some that they have in my dorm. They just have the dogs come and you can go down and visit with them.”

Jamie Samples is an employee who has worked with Service Dogs at The University of North Carolina.

“I actually coordinated an event where I brought therapy dogs in the last week of exams and let students just pet them to ease their stress. It was very successful there.”

Over the years, students have shown their appreciation from WVU’s furry therapists.


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So if you’re feeling stressed these coming weeks, go ahead and find a pup. There are always events for finals week featuring the dogs. For information, keep an eye on announcements around campus and WVU Today.

If you do feel you are struggling to cope with stress, please contact the Carruth Center at (304) 293-4431. 

Sexual Assault on Campus Podcast

Last week, Aishina posted on sexual harassment and assault awareness. An American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, with over 300,000 rape and sexual assault cases occurring every year in the United States,

During West Virginia University’s Campus Climate survey, around half of students reported feeling that they’ve been assaulted on campus. In this podcast, Madalyn, Mia, and I talk about our experience with fear of assault on campus, if the culture at WVU does or does not effect this, and more…

If you feel that you have been assaulted or are uncomfortable about a situation, please contact the Title IV office. Here is a link to a prezi about your options:


April 20th, 2017. 4/20. “National Weed Day”.

April 20th, 2017. 4/20. National Weed Day.

4/20 is a widely known day cherished by pot smokers around the world as a reason to “toke up with friends and massive crowds each year”.

This interesting article posted by TIME dives into the real reason why 4/20 is associated with weed. Although we are all relatively familiar with the day and its meaning, we aren’t fully aware of what it can do to your body if you choose to take part in the activity. The effects of cannabis for men and women can be just this :


  • Higher rates of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in their bloodstream.
  • Less likely to be cannabis only consumers
  • Higher prevalence of reported panic disorders and personality disorders


  • Experience more dizziness
  • Tend to use cannabis when feeling anxious
  • Potential to experience weaker effects due to a difference in body weight distribution

Having some background information on the topic, I was able to interview someone I know who takes part in this activity.


How long have you been smoking weed for?

For about three years.

Do you participate in 4/20?

I don’t individually participate in 4/20, but I have celebrated 4/20 after being invited to do so in a social setting.

Do you feel like smoking weed has effected your body in any way? If so how?


Do you think you’ll ever stop smoking it or no?

I haven’t smoked for the past few months, but I hold nothing against the use of marijuana nor was my decision to stop smoking for any particular reason. My decision to stop smoking was very passive.

With the new law passed that smoking weed is now legal in California, does that affect your buying habits in any way?

Yes and no. Before the law passed, I didn’t buy marijuana very frequently. Now that it is legal I don’t think my habits will change, only that if I did need to purchase some that it would be more convenient to go to a shop rather than look for alternative means.

If so, Are you smoking more now that previously before?


No matter if you take part in the 4/20 festivities or randomly smoke throughout the year, everyone has a different way of doing so and each persons take on the subject is different.

Indecent exposure on WVU’s downtown campus

Last week I wrote about sexual assault at WVU, and how 46.6 percent of students reported being sexually assaulted on campus. This week, as I skimmed the WVU Police reports, I came across something that didn’t settle well with me.

A women reported to WVUPD that a man exposed himself to her…in Stansbury Hall. In case you’re not familiar, that’s the building across the bridge by the Beechurst PRT, and it’s not a dormitory—it houses offices and classrooms.

Does this mean that we can’t go to class or an appointment with our professors and advisors without worrying that someone may expose themselves to us?

“I think it’s disgusting,” said Corey Snodgrass, a freshman strategic communications major. “I would stop going to class in that building … I wouldn’t feel safe on campus.”

Of course, the police report is not detailed, so we can only make assumptions about what actually happened. If the subject could not be found, we’re basically taking the word of the woman who filed the report.

So, you could say that I’m overreacting a bit. It just blows my mind to think that this could happen on our campus, though I’m sure it’s happened before. Others are concerned about the language used in the report.

“I think rather than calling it indecent exposure, we should call it was it really is—harassment,” said Bree McCullough, a junior strategic communications major.

I agree. Shouldn’t indecent exposure be categorized as sexual harassment?

“I think some girls probably overreact to what is sexual assault compared to what is actually sexual assault,” said Bryan Wagner, a pre-pharmacy student at WVU said to WDTV reporters in February.

Are we overreacting, or is this the opinion of an individual who has never fallen victim to this kind of harassment or abuse. It leaves me concerned that we are not well-educated about sexual assault, because if someone has been traumatized enough to report it—I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe them.

What actually happens when this kind of event goes down, and how do the police handle it? Moreover, how does the University handle it? University Housing states that indecent exposure violates University policy, but the link directing you to learn more is broken.

The It’s on Us Title IX campaign works to educate people about sexual assault and what to do if they witness or are a victim, but how hard are we working to get the message across that this kind of behavior is not okay?

What is your skin telling you?

As the body’s largest organ, our skin can tell us a ton about our overall health. In fact, according to a process known as face mapping, acne on specific areas of the face is related to a multitude of different health dilemmas, from hormones to stress to poor diets. Certain breakouts can be signifiers of something extremely serious, while others are simply the result of a once-in-a-while junk food binge.

Stress, a common factor among college women, is known to cause breakouts on the forehead and cheeks. Similarly, irregular sleep and alcohol consumption—which often go hand-in-hand with stress for many college women—lead to breakouts on the forehead and temples, respectively.

Poor diets, as well as digestive problems like indigestion and bloating, cause blemishes on the forehead and the nose, while diets too high in fat or processed foods cause blemishes on the temples. Spicy and fried foods, as well as constipation, lead to breakouts around the mouth area.

Face mapping [source: Pinterest]
All of these factors that cause acne—stress, irregular sleep, alcohol consumption and junk food binges—are fine in small doses, but when any becomes a regular aspect of your life, they can lead to some seriously dangerous long-terms effects beyond breakouts.

Furthermore, blemishes on the cheeks and chin specifically can be the result of more immediate health problems.

The cheeks are prone to blemishes when lung, liver and/or stomach issues are present, while the chin tends to break out when hormonal/gynecological issues are present and/or the kidneys are imbalanced.

In these extreme cases, it is best to consult your healthcare provider for an official diagnosis, as breakouts on these areas are only possible inklings of such issues and may in fact be caused by something less serious. For example, a dirty cell phone is a well-known culprit of acne spots on the cheeks because impurities on it make direct contact with the skin during calls.

Overall, poor hygiene causes acne on all areas of the face and upper body, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

“Acne appears when a pore in our skin clogs. This clog begins with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells rise to the surface of the pore, and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make lots of sebum (see-bum), oil that keeps our skin from drying out, the dead skin cells can stick together inside the pore. Instead of rising to the surface, the cells become trapped inside the poor,” AAD writes.

“Sometimes bacteria that live on our skin, [known as p. acnes], also get inside the clogged pore. Inside the pore, the bacteria have a perfect environment for multiplying very quickly. With loads of bacteria inside, the pore becomes inflamed (red and swollen). If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, an acne cyst or nodule appears.”

A daily three-step routine that includes cleansing, toning and moisturizing, as well as gentle exfoliating two times a week, can remedy this issue and even help to fade discoloration from acne scars. If the acne persists despite proper hygiene, you should see a healthcare professional, as it could be a sign of something more serious.

College women with busy schedules are often guilty of neglecting a proper skincare routine, leaving them with clogged pores and breakouts as a result. Women with skin on the oilier side, especially, should never forget to moisturize.

A common counterproductive skincare technique to which many with oily or acne-prone skin fall victim is over-drying. When you already feel your skin is producing too much oil on its own, it seems counterintuitive to slather it with more oils. So, we tend to stick to more drying products in order to combat this dilemma. But, experts argue otherwise.

“Your skin needs some moisture and if it gets too dry, it will produce more oil to make up for it. So by drying out your skin and not adding moisture, you’re actually making it oilier,” according to

Moisturizers specially made for sensitive skin are always a good option, while others full of natural ingredients, like tea tree oil or witch hazel, are ideal for naturally oily skin.

The Soda Tax and West Virginia: Where Were at Now

On March 29th, I made my first post in this blog about the soda tax proposal done by Gov. Jim Justice. Since then, I have done a podcast with my group on community feedback, and have written why the soda tax is not working in Philadelphia, and how people are against it and crossing borders to get their soda.

The soda tax for West Virginia has mixed reviews. Some people are for it, and some people are against it- finding it pointless and ridiculous.

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Of course everyone is going to have their opinions, but where are we at with the soda tax?

OPB News said in an article that large soda industries are getting ticked off by these soda taxes. The soda companies put out billions of dollars for their ads, and Coca-Cola is very famous for having ads that make you feel emotion. Besides the recent Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner, Pepsi was doing great with ads as well. At least once a day, you will come across a TV ad, radio ad, poster or billboard ad that has to do with soda.

Michael Bloomberg, New York City Major, spent around $18 million on ads that oppose soda, stating how it is so poor for our health. But honestly, when was the last time you saw something like this? I don’t remember ever seeing an ad stating NOT to drink or buy soda.

Since Gov. Justice has proposed the soda tax, Legislature has put together three bills to increase the soda tax. Senate Bill 335 would bump up the current tax from $0.01 to $0.05 (total of four cents) per 16.9 ounces and the tax on soft drink syrup from from $0.80 to $4.00 (total of $3.20) per gallon.

House Bill 3085 would change the soda tax to a $0.01 tax per ounce (instead of 16.9 ounces) on soft drinks.

House Bill 3045 would change the soda tax to $0.02 per ounce.

Just looking at the three bills, S.B. 335 looks like it would make soda and other sugary drinks the most costly. The American Heart Association of West Virginia is really hoping that the soda tax goes into effect. Gov. Jim Justice’s original proposal was to fill the $500 million budget deficit however, the AHA claims that it is not enough and would need more money to better West Virginia.

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The AHA is backing up the $0.01 per ounce tax because it would bring in more revenue (around $89 million) than Justice’s plan, which would bring in only around $30 million. West Virginia is ranked 47th in the country when it comes to obesity, and WV ranks in the top four states with the most consumed sugary drinks, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in 2016.

WV also says that sugary drinks are a want and not a need. It is a choice if you want to pick the soda over a bottle of water. Many people like the taste of sugary drinks, others like the bubbles and fizziness, and some just are addicted to the sugar and caffeine. With the final days of deciding on this soda tax for West Virginia is approaching, I guess we just have to wait and see what happens!




What Do You Mean The Soda Tax Might Not Work?

I personally have been writing about Gov. Jim Justice’s Soda Tax proposal the last two weeks. In my first post, I mentioned what the Soda Tax is and what Gov. Justice’s plan is. For my second post, WVU Womens Health Blog did a podcast on what we think about the proposal and if it will actually benefit West Virginia in the long run.

Gov. Justice is hoping that the new Soda Tax will make West Virginia a healthier state, and that he could put the extra money the state is making from the tax into restoring and building new buildings, shaping up WV’s communities, putting more money into the school districts, and so on.

But, will the Soda Tax actually work? Because let me tell you something, it is NOT working in my home city: Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia was the first largest city to put the Soda Tax into effect. Philly thought the same thing Gov. Justice thinks; that the tax would be great and bring in more money into the city to be able to give back to the community and fix a lot of issues that are going on. However, little did they know that people were crossing borders, going into different counties, and even smuggling soda!


Not only is that crazy stuff going on, but Julia Terruso of writes that:

Two months into the city’s sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors are reporting a 30 percent to 50 percent drop in beverage sales and are planning for layoffs.

 One of the city’s largest distributors says it will cut 20 percent of its workforce in March, and an owner of six ShopRite stores in Philadelphia says he expects to shed 300 workers this spring.
Really? That much of a a decrease not only in beverage sales but also in employees? The suburbs however, are seeing increases in sales due to people driving out of the city to buy their sugary drinks. But, is it worth it? People who decide to take the time to drive out of the city wether it is to a nearby state or a different county in the suburbs are basically spending the “extra” money into gas.
So, is it worth driving a half hour, waiting in traffic, wasting gas, to buy your bottle of Pepsi or should you pay the tax at your local grocery store that may only be a minute or two away?
Regardless, the Soda Tax is not preventing people from buying soda and people are still making the choice to buy their sugary drinks. It hurts the city when you decide to not pay the extra tax because then they don’t receive that money to fund into something, but it is also harming your body because soda or any sugary drink is not healthy.
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But, just because the Soda Tax is not working as planned in Philadelphia does not mean that it will not work in West Virginia. Philadelphia is a large city, but it also is a short way from the suburbs or to New Jersey or Delaware.

Gov. Justice wants to have ALL of West Virginia be in effect with the tax, so maybe it won’t be as easy to drive out of the way to buy the drink if people do not want to spend the extra money.
It definitely would not hurt to try it and learn from it. Like I mentioned in my first post, about $1.9 billion was spent on medical bills for diabetes in West Virginia only in 2012. I know Gov. Justice is just trying to do the right thing and definitely decrease that number, as well as to improve the overall health. I certainly hope that it does work out, that’s for sure!