With a button and a smile, Be Well Hut student volunteers, or “Hutters” as they have been dubbed, spread information advocating for a healthy lifestyle through witticisms to make the material stick.
The Be Well Hut is a student-led initiative under the Health Promotion and Wellness Services. Found on the Haley Concourse every Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Hutters distribute buttons sporting health-related puns or other health-focused quips to passing students.
“One of my favorite buttons was a picture of ‘The Rock’ [Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson] holding an actual rock,” said Eric Smith, Health Promotion and Wellness Services Director. “The message that week was about self-love. It was just so funny to me to see ‘The Rock’ looking so lovingly at that rock, but it also promoted a really important message.”
Smith smiled as he mentioned a few more of his favorite buttons from the years.
“There have been a lot of great food pun buttons, like ‘Kale Yeah’ for example,” Smith said. “There was also one of a wiener dog wearing a condom that got a lot of praise. ‘Pugs not Drugs’ was a hit, too.”
Students always develop the first run of ideas for button designs. They then collaborate with leaders and an in-house graphic designer and flesh out the ideas.
“The Be Well Hut is a student-led organization and they do all of the work. The teams come up with flyer information, the button ideas and have input as to what needs to be changed,” said Celeste Wyatt, Health Promotion and Wellness Services graduate assistant. “The graphic designer is always a student employee and the Executive Committee is made up of students as well.”
The buttons given to students are accompanied with information about the respective topic of the week.
“Every semester the executive directors [a team comprised of students] and I discuss the topics that will be beneficial and appreciated by the student population of Auburn’s campus,” Wyatt said. “These topics are those that we feel students can relate closely to or benefit from having more information about.”
The Hut has been contacted by other campus organizations or campaigns, such as the Office of Sustainability or 125 Years of Women, and shapes its message to complement their information as well.
“One of the coolest things to see is that we’re starting to have some cultural buy-in with our buttons,” Smith said. “I mean, you see students everywhere walking with these buttons pinned to their backpacks, and I’ve heard stories of students who have collected every button – buttons we made. It’s great that through an impact on culture we can have an impact on health as well.”
Smith said the hut’s primary purpose is to provide health information and that buttons are an interesting vehicle to do it.
“Whether it is a funny button about sexual health awareness or tailgating safety, every student should feel like they are a part of the Auburn Family,” said Wyatt. “I also feel as though the hut brings an awareness to everyone we encounter about what all our office, Health Promotion and Wellness has to offer.”