Will Hehemann | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
Runners, joggers and walkers recently congregated around the W.E. O’Bryant Bell Tower at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), as the university hosted the 1890 Day Wellness Walk/Run and Health Fair. When Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander called the start of the race, they were off! The health-themed event was part of UAPB’s 142nd annual Founder’s Celebration and commemorated the university’s history as an 1890 land-grant institution.
Sharoya Simmons, a sophomore industrial technology management and applied engineering major, took first place in the run, clocking in at ten minutes and forty-five seconds. Salonica Hunter, a sophomore mass communications major, took second and Asm Sorker, a graduate student of horticulture and manager of the UAPB greenhouse, took third.
The top three contestants received commemorative medals and Simmons was awarded an iPad mini, the first place prize. Simmons and Hunter are both middle distance runners on the UAPB women’s cross country team, and Sorker formerly ran marathons.
As more participants crossed the finish line, the health fair was underway with a disk jockey, line dancing, Zumba classes and health screenings. The event included educational sessions on health and wellness, diabetes awareness, CPR training and smoking prevention. Performances by the Marching Musical Machine of the Midsouth (M4) percussion section and the UAPB Spirit Team preceded the walk.
Approximately 160 participants including UAPB students, faculty and staff and community members attended the event. Over $2,000 was raised in registration proceeds and donations to fund the UAPB Justin Morrill Scholarship. The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. – Alpha Rho chapter presented a check for $189.00.
“The 1890 Day Wellness Walk/Run was a success,” Dr. Edmund R. Buckner, associate dean for Research and Extension Programs at UAPB, said. “I appreciate all who came out to celebrate UAPB’s history as a land-grant institution and support student scholarship funds.”
Event sponsors included the Jefferson County Arkansas Farm Bureau, Walmart, Simmons First National Bank, Relyance Bank, the UAPB Athletics Department, UAPB Career Services and UAPB Black and Gold, Fit and Bold. Participants included Natural Way Health Foods, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Jefferson Comprehensive Care System, Inc., Jefferson County Health Unit, the UAPB Department of Human Sciences, the UAPB Minority Initiative of Stamp Out Smoking, American Cancer Society of Central Arkansas and the Jefferson County Fire Department.
The event commemorated the 125th anniversary of the signing of the Second Morrill Act of 1890 and the creation of UAPB and the 18 other historically black land-grant universities. Justin Morrill, the author of the Act, believed that all people deserved the right to education, regardless of race or social class.