BYU-Hawaii’s Healthy Living Student Association focuses on improving all areas of health and wellness through nutrition, exercise, and awareness. Brooklyn Redd, president of the association and an international cultural studies junior from New Mexico, said she was inspired to create the association because of experiences with health she had during her childhood and with her family.
Redd explained, “My father is a doctor who uses alternative medicine, and my mother is a nutritionist who always emphasized the importance of health. There was a time my dad was really sick when I was little. I remember it was difficult for him to work and really hard on us as a family.
“My parents’ example is an inspiration to me to help others be healthy and to know it’s really not that hard. Life becomes easier when you’re healthy rather than when you’re not.
“When I was young, we were afraid my dad was going to pass away because he was really sick.” She said she learned there are different ways to deal with hard situations in life, like sicknesses, from her father’s example of changing his diet and living a healthy lifestyle, which helped him to be able to provide for her family. “My parents are good examples with how to deal with things,” she added.
Redd said she also discovered the benefits of healthy living through her own trials growing up. “I had depression and anxiety. I found that when I was eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping enough, that’s when I was able to overcome them. I have a testimony that healthy living really can change your life.”
Jeremy De Guzman, treasurer of the association, said, “I enjoy being with the people, especially the presidency members. We encourage each other to keep our goals to stay healthy. I’m working to heal from my injuries so accidents and problems don’t arise. Once you’re not healthy, it’s hard to come back from it.”
Over 50 students signed up for the association this semester, said Redd. Guzman, an exercise science senior from Texas, said, “It’s crazy because we’re so new. We thought we would be lucky just to get 15. There are a lot of people interested in it.”
Rachel Roundy, an exercise science junior from Utah, works at the gym and is the association’s vice president of careers. She said, “Brooklyn came to me and asked if we could start a healthy living club. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about since I was a little girl. My parents emphasized healthy eating. I feel so much better when I’m taking care of my body. When you’re healthy, you can more easily listen to your body.”
Redd expressed deep appreciation to her presidency and said she chose them because each one has a passion for health. “I really pondered on who would be good for our team and who would be able to advocate well. They are all amazing assets,” she said.
Kawika Wise, vice president of activities, said, “When you have the coolest people in the presidency, it’s hard to resist. I definitely care about my health. I just love to exercise and I care about my body because my body is a beautiful temple.”
Wise, a senior from Laie majoring in Hawaiian Studies, added, “We just want everyone to become better versions of themselves and this club is the place to be.”
The association’s main goal is for people to learn, said Redd. “No one should feel intimidated,” she said. “We want people to see what it’s like to see the difference eating, and doing healthy things can help you live a happy life. You think as a student it’s so expensive to eat healthy food. My family struggled financially when I was growing up, but we were able to do it. You just need motivation and willingness.”
Roundy added, “On Instagram and fitness pages, people are constantly comparing themselves to others. This is not like that. It’s about feeling good, and [it’s about] all aspects of health. It isn’t about getting or having a perfect body. None of us want people to feel intimidated.”
This semester, the association has held exercise activities where members do Zumba and yoga. On May 27, members went to meditate with the Buddhist monks at the Sacred Falls International Meditation Center. About 23 students attended and learned how to focus on breathing and positive thoughts to push away negative thoughts, said Redd. “They said if you’re able to focus on your breath 24/7, that’s when you’re able to live in the moment and focus on the positive things going on,” she added.
For more information on association activities, visit the BYUHSA Healthy Living Association Facebook page or OrgSync page.
NOTE: This story's online publishing was delayed because it was featured in the June 2017 print issue.