Originally, I sat down today to write a blog post about healthy school fundraisers. Instead, you’re getting a post about healthy (grown-up) public health events, or the lack thereof.
As someone who works in public health and often participates in walks, runs, and other charity events – I long ago realized that there was a problem with fundraising for public health. Shouldn’t fundraisers for causes like cancer and other public health issues model the very behaviors we seek to instill in others?
Yet, the go-to fundraisers are often pizza sales or happy hours – where you literally profit off of someone’s unhealthy behavior. The more you drink, the more money I donate to the organization I’m raising money for.
That’s why, after much internal debate, I decided a couple year’s ago to stop helping to organize and promote such fundraising events. No more happy hour fundraisers to raise money for that cancer walk, or pizza sales to raise money for a school garden initiative. If my friends and colleagues can’t be persuaded to follow suit, that’s fine – they can host a happy hour for our team. But I’m not participating.
I drew that line.
Now I find myself trying to decide whether other lines need to be drawn as well. What about tweet-ups or other gatherings in the name of public health? It is easy to host those at a bar – after all, bars are readily available and conducive to social gatherings. But should we be trying harder to find alternative venues that better fit with the type of society we’re trying to create? What about a picnic outside? Or a bookstore? Or a healthy cafe? Or a farmers market?
What about public health workshops, conferences, and meetings? Shouldn’t the food there reflect the type of food we should actually be eating on a regular basis?
I’m not saying that it isn’t okay to go to a bar and enjoy a drink, or that it isn’t okay to eat pizza or nachos now and then. I’m only human, after all – and I love a good cocktail. But if we’re specifically organizing a public health event, is a bar an appropriate venue?
Thoughts? What do you think?