Valentine’s may be a day when many think of chocolate hearts and flowers, but it is really a day about relationships.
Caroline Allaback, a University of Wisconsin-Stout sophomore, has created a brochure that Mayo Clinic plans to make available for its 60,000 employees nationwide to remind them about the importance of nurturing healthy relationships.
Allaback, a human development and family studies major from Appleton, designed the brochure for her Healthy Couple Relationships class taught in the fall by Jennifer Reinke, program director and assistant professor.
One of the requirements of the class is that students work with a community partner to create a brochure. Allaback partnered with Mayo Clinic and worked with Tina Bialzik of the Mayo Clinic Health System–Red Cedar Menomonie to help create the brochure.
“It is very exciting,” Allaback said of her brochure, which was created in Adobe InDesign being used by Mayo Clinic. “It feels not just like a class project but like a professional experience. The brochure I came up with is being taken seriously. That’s very rewarding.”
The brochure entitled “Nurturing Your Relationship to Benefit Work” covers six domain areas including physical, work-life integration, meaning in work, social, financial and emotional.
The physical focuses on exercising and getting enough sleep. Work-life integration addresses the importance of couples setting aside quality time and making their relationship a priority. Planning a future together and checking in on those goals are part of the meaning in work.
Looking for the joy in a relationship and keeping a positive attitude are part of the social domain. Focusing on planning a budget and setting financial goals are the financial domain. In emotional, letting a partner know they are appreciated and managing conflict together are highlighted.
Reinke said Allaback did an excellent job. Allaback successfully navigated the assignment requirements while also adhering to the formatting specifications and content organization requested by the clinic.
“Though the hope is that organizations will use students’ final brochures, the fact that Mayo Clinic is actually sharing Caroline’s brochure with the population and community they serve is actually fairly rare,” Reinke said.
Reinke credited the care the clinic took to be involved in the project and work with Allaback to create a great final product.
Relationships are everywhere, and maintaining healthy, meaningful ones are important for one’s mental and physical health, Reinke said.
“In class, we talk about the idea that we are embedded in relationships as fish are embedded in water,” she said. “We are immersed in relationships – whether it be with a romantic partner, roommate, sibling, parents, colleague, or friend. There’s really no such thing as not being in relationships.”
Valentine’s Day is always a good time to do a checkup on relationships, Reinke said. “Are we happy? What are our relational goals? What things can we work on together?” she noted. “Valentine’s Day really prompts a discussion of ‘let’s see where we’re at.’”
As Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, UW-Stout strives for real-world applications. Having students work on brochures for community partners is part of gaining that hands-on experience, Reinke noted. “Community members learn what our students have to offer,” she said. “Students can learn about possible internships or volunteer opportunities.”
Allaback, who plans to attend graduate school and work as a licensed counselor, said she enjoyed Reinke’s class and the knowledge Reinke brought to students.
“It is applicable to a lot of areas of life,” Allaback said. “Friends or people at work can have conflict. A family can plan for their future. A lot of young people are not taught in high school how to be in a relationship. It’s interesting to have a class totally devoted to that. Relationships are such a big part of life.”
Allaback is not sure when the brochure will be available to Mayo Clinic employees because the clinic will make some changes to fit its branding.
UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.
Allaback's brochure focuses on six donain areas for healthy relationships.