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Humans are unhealthy. We’re getting fatter, sicker, and lazier than ever. Sure, we can blame it on the accessibility to junk food, conveniences like two-day shipping, and sedentary lifestyles. 

However, the reality is that it all comes down to you and your habits. No one forces you to buy from Amazon vs. walking around your local shopping mall. Nor does anyone tie you down and force-feed you fast food and soda. Yet, only 2.7% of Americans lead healthy lifestyles.

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While mobile gadgets are getting a bad rap for making us lazier, they can also be used to save us from our unhealthy customs. Let’s take a look at health tracker apps you can use on your smartphone to monitor your health. 

How often do you get your heart pumping throughout the day? Or a better question — when’s the last time your heart raced? 

Maybe it was last Tuesday when you were late for work and had to run up a flight of stairs and down a hall to catch an elevator before the doors closed? Or maybe it was several years ago when you last played tag with your children?

Either way, you’re not giving your heart the action it needs to thrive. As you’d imagine, the Instant Heart Rate health tracker app helps track your heart rate, and what it should be during different activities, such as: 

Rest

Light exercise

Weight loss

Aerobics

Conditioning 

High-performance training (Athletic Athlete)

This is all calculated based on your age. Then it’ll collect heart rate data each day, which comes with visual reports. Just make sure you have your phone in your hands since it can only detect your heart rate through your fingertips. 

Want to lose weight and get fit, but don’t have the will to get off the couch (or wherever you’re sitting) to achieve your goals? Well, then the Couch to 5K is the app that can help you get in shape no matter where you are.

It can help take you from doing 0 feet a day to running 5K within nine weeks. 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to run around the block. Nor do you have to step foot outside of your home (or office). You can run right where you are — just jog in place, and it’ll track your steps.

It includes workout routines shown by four motivational coaches. So you’re not left to figure it all out on your own. You start off simple, switching between walking and running short distances. Eventually, you build yourself up to handle longer (in-place) journeys. 

Then to spice things up, you can listen to your music — the running tracker app plays audio cues so you don’t miss anything. 

What you put in your body is just as important as what you do with your body. Eating the wrong foods can reverse any effort you make towards becoming fitter and healthier.

With the Fooducate app, you can learn about the foods you’re eating to see if they have too many carbs and calories. These are the common culprits of unsuccessful weight loss attempts. 

It also helps track what you eat daily, and you can scan product barcodes so the app can give it a nutrition grade. At least, you’ll never have to worry about whether the items in your shopping cart are healthy for you. 

Best of all — this food tracking app is free and available for iOS and Android. 

So we’ve talked about health tracking apps you can use for your weight loss, diet, and heart health. But what about your mind? Stress is a silent killer we must eradicate. 

The only way you can pull this off is if you practice mindfulness, get a good night’s rest, and meditate. Too many of us are working too hard, leading busy lives, and not taking care of our minds. 

This includes doing breathing exercises, unwinding before bed, and helping you with focus, so you’re more productive throughout the day. 

Knocking out tasks will surely help to ease tensions we deal with at the end of the day. 

Alternatives to the Couch to 5K app are Apple Health and Google Fit. These health tracking apps allow you to keep track of all your daily activities. 

For example, it’ll tell you how many steps you take daily, monitor your weight, and tell you how long you’re active each day. You can also set goals and see if you’re reaching them. A countdown shows how long you have left to complete your daily steps and activities. 

The recommended amount is 10K steps daily, but you can always start smaller. 

These apps can also record activities like cycling and running. You can monitor your improvements, so you stay motivated to continue going. 

There’s a reason wellness goes hand-in-hand with health. If you’re not feeling well, then you can never achieve a healthy state. This is why it’s critical to keep an eye on your mental wellbeing. 

You can do this with MyMoodTracker, which helps to keep track of how you feel throughout the day. It’ll ask how you’re doing, then you can choose between a range of emotions, such as happy, sad, mad, etc. 

Over time, you can paint a picture of how often you have bad moods. The key is to try and improve your weeks with more happy days. To do this, you have to pinpoint what’s bothering you. 

Maybe you need more sleep, a more nutritious diet, or a change in departments (or careers). Your emotional health should always be at the forefront, so try using this iOS app to monitor it. 

Take Control Of Your Health 

It’s time to stop playing the victim to poor lifestyle habits. You can improve your diet, fitness, and mental wellness just by giving it more attention. 

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Amazfit Band 7 Fitness & Health Tracker Review: Back To Basics

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The rise of smartwatches has made health and fitness tracking seem inherently more expensive. Even fairly straightforward watches containing only the most basic sensors tend to be pricey. There used to be many budget options when “Fitbit” was synonymous with fitness tracker, but many seem to have disappeared as convergence devices have increased. Enter Amazfit. The company is relatively new (established in 2024) but already has a robust lineup of budget-friendly activity accessories. And with the Amazfit Band 7, the brand has a bracelet-style tracker that takes a step back from pricier smartwatches so you can track your steps (and other performance metrics) as you move toward your fitness goals. Let’s take a close look at the conveniences and compromises that accompany a $50 fitness watch.

The Amazfit Band 7’s design

While all of Amazfit’s watches are more affordable than most options, the Band 7 falls in Amazfit’s Essential Series lineup, which, as you might guess, is its lowest tier. The Band 7 follows in the footsteps of the Band 5 (there was no Band 6) but presents a larger, more rectangular display, better battery life, and some general software upgrades. There’s no built-in GPS, and there are minor usability issues, but the compromises are minimal and, for most, insignificant. The watch is surprisingly capable for such a low price, with a good amount of health data and tracking opportunities. What it is not, however, is flashy.

Minimal is the best word to use when describing the design of the Amazfit Band 7. It is a simple rectangular shape with no buttons or design flourishes whatsoever. The band is one seamless piece that secures the watch face, with no special design or color inserts. The stock models are available in beige, pink, or black (the color I received to review). Should you want something else, you can also buy $10 replacement straps in green, blue, pink, or orange. 

The watch strap connects with a snap button-type design. That makes it easier to put on, but I also had issues with the edge catching on things resulting in the band unsnapping and the watch coming loose on my wrist. The band is also fairly large. I have small wrists, yes, but I used the second to last hole. Amazfit lists the minimum wrist size as 6.5 inches. So if you have smaller wrists than that, you’ll likely want to stay away from the Band 7 unless you don’t mind wearing it higher on your arm. 

Although the band may be a bit long, the watch itself is really slim. It only measures 1.7 x 1 x 0.5 inches, so it looks great, even on my miniature wrists. And it’s low-profile enough that the watch face doesn’t get caught on long sleeves. 

The lack of buttons is either really great or really annoying, depending on your preferences. It was a bit of both for me. I like the sleek look of a button-free design. But there were definitely times when having a button would have been nice. For example, if the watch turns off—either because I turn it off or it goes to sleep after not being worn for a few days—you have to connect the watch to a charger to turn it back on because there’s no power button. I found this very annoying, especially if I wanted to pop out for a run or walk. 

The snap-style band closure tends to catch on things and come undone.

Display

Despite the budget price, the watch features a rather nice display. It’s a 1.47-inch HD ​​AMOLED display with a resolution of 198×368, 282ppi, and very minimal bezels. I really like the narrow rectangular design, as it provides enough screen real estate to see things easily but doesn’t take up my entire wrist to do so. It just looks really nice to me. 

It’s a colorful display and is easy to see in most situations. You have to adjust brightness manually, though, which is tricky if the brightness is turned down and you are out in the sun. You can adjust that setting in the app, but that’s a bit of a pain if you are on a run, for example. The screen is topped with tempered glass and an anti-fingerprint coating. Tempered glass isn’t as durable as other options, such as Gorilla Glass. Yet I haven’t managed to scratch the Band 7 display despite scratching my more expensive, Gorilla Glass-topped Garmin Forerunner 955. 

As you may expect, since there are no buttons, the display is a touchscreen, so you can swipe and tap through menus and settings. It is plenty responsive; in fact, I had issues with it being too responsive. When I crossed my arms, there was enough pressure to activate the touchscreen and enter the menu to change the watch face. It got quite irritating. 

Sensors

Amazfit fitted the Band 7 with its ​​BioTracker 3.0 PPG biometric sensor. Put simply, PPG sensors use low infrared light to measure how much light is absorbed by blood vessels. This provides a constant measurement of heart rate and blood oxygen levels (SpO2). It can also use that data to calculate and track VO2 Max, stress levels, and sleep. You will have to turn on settings to automatically track SpO2, as it defaults to only manual measurement.

The watch also utilizes a geomagnetic sensor and a three-axis acceleration sensor. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth 5.2 BLE, and that’s the extent of its sensors and connectivity. 

Setting up the Amazfit Band 7

Setting up the Amazfit Band 7 is mostly straightforward, albeit a bit tedious. Most of the setup process is done on your phone in the Zepp app (Amazfit is powered by Zepp Health’s health management platform). The initial pairing process with my Samsung Galaxy S22 was very easy, with a simple scan of a QR code on the watch using the app. 

From there, however, things get a little bit complicated and a lot annoying. You have to grant a lot of permissions, more than any other watch platform I’ve used before. It seemed to go on forever. I also had a really hard time finding some of the menus for permissions that the Zepp app specified. It mentioned menus that simply do not exist on my phone, even though it says it’s specific to the phone manufacturer. Then, if you want to get notifications on your watch, you have to go through each individual app that you want notifications from. Which, again, was a bit tedious. 

The Amazfit Band 7’s features

As a budget device, you’d expect the Band 7 to be extremely limited in functionality and abilities. And while it certainly doesn’t have as robust a feature set as a $500 watch, the watch is surprisingly feature-rich for $50. It won’t be a replacement for serious athletes that need highly accurate information and robust tools, but it’s more than capable for most people. 

Battery life

The battery life on the Band 7 is quite surprising, given the low price of the watch. The watch offers a 232 mAh rated capacity, and Amazfit promises up to 18 days of battery life with typical usage. It says heavy usage will result in up to 12 days of battery life. Of course, all this depends on your watch settings as well, as the always-on display and certain settings like stress measuring will eat away at battery life. 

In my testing, I got an average of 16 days of battery life. I typically do one dedicated workout (either a run or strength training session) a day with anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour of duration. And I generally track a few short walks per day on top of that because of my dog. I did not have the always-on display running because I wanted to save the battery more, which greatly affected how much battery life I could get.

When the battery did run out, I was able to charge the watch quickly. Amazfit claims that the theoretical charging duration is two hours, and I found that to be accurate. If I needed a quick top-off before a workout, 15 minutes of charging would give me enough juice to record an hour-long session. The charger uses a magnetic design. In line with the watch’s design, it’s a tiny charger, making it easier to bring along on trips than other watches I’ve used. 

The Band 7 is capable of tracking plenty of different workout types. Abby Ferguson

Activity tracking

The Amazfit Band 7 can track 120 different types of activities. That includes the basics like outdoor and indoor running, hiking, and cycling. But it also can track badminton, belly and square dancing, jumping rope, jiu-jitsu, and even kite-flying or swinging. Essentially, if there’s an activity you want to do, chances are there’s a unique profile for it on the Amazfit Band 7. 

Tracking is easy, though, by default, the workout widget (where all the activities are) is quite low in the list, so you’ll need to scroll a bit. I thought that was an odd default placement since that’s one of the main reasons to get a watch like this. But you can customize that placement in the Zepp app. Then, you simply tap on Workout and choose the type of workout you want. 

Before you start tracking, you can also adjust settings by tapping the ellipses above the “Go” button. For example, for outdoor running, you can set a workout goal (miles, time, or calories). You can set workout alerts for different metrics like high heart rate or minimum pace. And you can even set the watch up for interval training, which is a nice feature. 

Data collection and insights

The Band 7 is fairly limited in sensors, but it offers the most important ones for basic insights: a  PPG biometric sensor, a geomagnetic sensor, and a three-axis acceleration sensor. It uses these three sensors to collect and calculate heart rate, SpO2, VO2 Max, and stress levels. 

The watch can also track your sleep, breaking it down to give you insights into how long you slept, REM sleep, and how often you were awake during the night. While it doesn’t apply this information to your training, and it isn’t highly accurate, it can at least give you a rough idea of your sleep.

Your training information and data provide a few key insights: PAI and Training Status. PAI, or Personal Activity Intelligence, uses a simple 100-point scale to reflect how active you are, with the goal of keeping it at or above 100 to reduce your risk of disease. It is based on an algorithm that assesses your age, gender, resting heart rate, maximum heart rate, and accumulated heart rate over seven days. Because an algorithm powers it, it’s dynamic and based on you as an individual instead of using generalizations.

While Training Status and PAI are enough for most users, The Band 7 and Zepp app won’t provide the in-depth data and insights serious athletes want or need. For example, Garmin (what I’m most familiar with) provides training stats such as the training effect of each individual workout, power curves, race predictions, training readiness, and heart rate variability (HRV) information. Most of that isn’t relevant to those simply trying to stay active and healthy, but if you want focused training for performance reasons, the Amazfit Band 7 and companion app likely won’t cut it. 

Smartwatch features

On top of all the fitness tracking, the Band 7 provides some smartwatch functionality. It doesn’t provide cellular connectivity, and there is no microphone, which limits its capabilities, though that’s to be expected at this price point. But you can get notifications on the watch from your smartphone from just about any app you use. You can’t interact with those notifications in any way, but you can at least see them to know if it’s something important enough to pick up your phone.

Beyond notifications, the watch also provides access to weather information. And if you are playing music on your phone, you can control it from the watch. I really liked that feature while in the gym working out. If a song started in my UE Fits earbuds that I didn’t want, I could just hit next right on my wrist instead of needing to pick up my phone and sweatily navigate to Spotify. 

Zepp app

The Zepp app is clean and clutter-free, with three primary tabs containing settings and data that you may need. The Homepage of the app features data cards to give you snapshots of what you most want to keep track of. For example, it can show steps, sleep, workout history, exercise status, and more. You can customize this, both in terms of which cards are shown and their order, which is nice. 

The Health tab is also customizable, though with far fewer options. It primarily shows you a breakdown of your workouts and your target goals (which you can edit). Since all of this can be found on the Homepage, it’s a bit confusing that a separate tab is needed.

The third tab is your Profile, which gives you access to settings, goals, connected accounts, and more. It’s also where you access your devices to change device-specific settings.

The app runs very smoothly on my Samsung Galaxy, and it’s quick to sync the watch when I make changes via the app as well. It doesn’t provide as in-depth insights as the Garmin app and doesn’t offer the social component Garmin does, but Zepp works well and provides basic and necessary information. 

The distance data from the Band 7 isn’t very accurate since it relies on a connected phone’s GPS. Here you can see it compared to the Garmin Forerunner 955, which has multi-band GPS. Abby Ferguson

The Amazfit Band 7’s usability and accuracy 

Overall, the Amazfit Band 7 is straightforward to use. It has its quirks—such as a lack of buttons for input—that make getting used to it a little tricky at first. But most of the controls are intuitive and easy to figure out. The sensitive touchscreen can be a bit annoying but is small in the grand scheme of things. 

One aspect that I really love about the Amazfit Band 7 is that it provides help text on the watch itself for certain data sets and features. For example, under Workout Status, if you tap the “i” at the bottom of the screen, a rather thorough explanation of EPOC pops up. Since the budget-friendly watch is largely geared toward those who aren’t exercise experts, these terms may be completely new. Explaining what they mean and why they are important right on the watch is extremely helpful and valuable. 

I found the watch’s heart rate monitor to be very accurate, even compared to a dedicated heart rate monitor, which is typically more precise. Likewise, the calculated VO2 Max was in the range it should be for me, though I plan on getting a lab test done for a truly accurate comparison. 

I rarely find sleep tracking very accurate, and that was the case with the Amazfit Band 7. There were nights it seemed spot on, but most of the time, it seemed at least slightly off, and nights it was completely incorrect as well. It also tends to think I’m taking a nap if I take the watch off for more than a few minutes.

How the Amazfit Band 7 stacks up against the competition

There’s no shortage of fitness watches available, with even Amazfit’s own line of devices quite lengthy. I’ve also been using Amazfit’s T-Rex 2. At $200, the T-Rex 2 is still quite a bargain compared to the likes of a Garmin, though it’s four times more expensive than the Band 7. And in most ways, the price difference is noticeable. The T-Rex 2 is decidedly more aggressive looking and significantly larger. It’s much more rugged, having passed 15 Military-Standards Tests (MIL-STD-810G) to withstand harsh conditions. And it comes with more health data and built-in dual-band positioning. You get a lot more watch in the T-Rex 2, albeit in a very different style that isn’t for everyone.

Garmin’s fitness watches tend to be one of the gold standard options for athletes, and the prices certainly match that. The company has done a fantastic job of managing health and fitness data to provide useful and accurate information for training purposes. Amazfit does a nice job of providing useful insights, but it isn’t as thorough as Garmin, especially in the minimal Band 7 watch. Garmin’s watches offer more robust feature sets and data tracking than the Band 7, yet still offer battery life that’s nearly as much as the simpler Band 7.

The Band 7 is much more minimal than Amazfit’s dual-band positioning higher-end T-Rex 2. Abby Ferguson

So, who should buy the Amazfit Band 7?

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the Amazfit Band 7. After exclusively using fairly expensive fitness watches for the past 10 years, I assumed that such a budget-level watch would be lacking and less impressive. But that was not the case. 

So who’s the Band 7 ideal for? It’s a fantastic choice for those looking for a simple device that can help encourage them to be more active. Not everyone needs access to race predictions and hyper-accurate pace and stride information. But the Amazfit Band 7 can help you learn more about exercise terms and support you in keeping tabs on your activity levels to work toward a healthier, more active lifestyle. And it can do this while functioning as a general smartwatch, making it even more well-rounded. 

Best Time Tracker Apps For Android To Keep You Focused

We’ve all heard the time-old tale of how “time is money” and despite some of us feeling that we might have years on our side, time is a commodity that simply slips away when we aren’t even noticing. Whether it is in your early days as a student where you need to keep your lectures and study sessions organized, or in later life when you’re making a living and growing your business, time tracking is the bare essential to what makes for an organized and well-managed lifestyle.

However, in a world where you can easily burn away hours watching your favorite Netflix shows and movies, time management without any additional help can be gruesome. The Google Play Store that you head over to download all of those distracting games, is also home to an ocean of resources that keep you sharp and focused with the best time tracking apps.

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Best time tracker apps for Android

Whether you need to carve out time for your school or college curriculum, or you’re a freelancer trying to get the most amount of work done in a day, here are the best time tracking apps for you to try out.

You may seem some people be naturally good at managing their schedule and keep a track of their time, but most of us need the extra help. TimeTune is designed to be an app you use every day as a time management journal app that not only helps you create a daily routine to streamline your work and personal life, but also offers useful insights on how to improve productivity.

Start off by creating a Routine of your daily, weekly, or just a calendar-based schedule and plan out your entire day with the app, and over a period of time, TimeTune will create a Timeline of your progress, giving you insights on how much time you spend on variables such as Eating, Work, Gym, Sleeping, and more.

Time is all about numbers, and so is the science of our existence, which is why some of the best time trackers apps are just number crunchers in disguise. SaveMyTime is one such offering, built to be smarter than your average time management tool as it not only comes with the ability for you to manually enter your daily routine but also offers helpful tips on how you can make the most out of your day.

With the help of statistical graphs, you can not only find out the amount of time you’ve spent on specific tasks such as balancing the ratio of work and leisure activities but also discovers areas where you can improve time management with special paid features.

While some of the time management apps you’ll find on the list are strictly business-oriented, aTimeLogger is a popular Android app that manages to work just as well for business as it does for regular users.

Designed to offer a user-friendly approach to time tracking, you can easily set up certain long-term or short-term goals that you want to achieve, pause and even resume tasks just like a timer, create automatic time tracking based on your daily work schedule, and even send out reports of your entire productivity statistics so you can record your progress and improve where you fall short.

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While you may be trying to get more hours out of your day for either work, leisure, or just those sweet moments of sleep, keeping a track of your time all the time can be frustrating. This is where Smart Time offers you their versatile service that not only helps you view your entire Timeline highlighting what takes up the precious moments in your life, but also a machine-learning Assistant that helps you do better.

You’re met with a carefully crafted weekly report that offers a deeper analysis of how you’re doing and it also comes with a standalone sleep tracker that makes sure that you get ample of good night’s sleep too.

One of the few time management apps that are specifically directed towards students looking to get better with their grades and focus on things that matter other than books, Todait is designed with simplicity in mind.

Just the perfect app you need to keep yourself determined before exam season, this time tracker app comes with features such as Automatic Distribution to break down your study routine into manageable bits, keeps you in line with alarms, calendar management, and a stopwatch to make sure you do justice to each of the subjects. The Todait app even comes with a Lock-Out Mode that you will love to hate, along with the Automatic Plan Adjustment mode that makes sure you don’t deviate from the goal.

One of the more business and work oriented time tracker apps on the list, Timesheet has been an invaluable online service for the modern virtual office space. Managing your work can be daunting by itself, which is why handling the work schedule for those that work under you can be even more challenging, but not if you’re using Timesheet.

Apart from managing the tasks and duties of your group in Project Management, the app doubles up as an easy-to-use Expense Tracker which also allows you to add Notes to milestone tasks and even includes Coffee Breaks as a way to account for any lost time during the work. It also comes with multi-platform support and built-in Statistics to help you break it all down.

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Another name in the time management service business that has been around for years now, Toggl has mastered the art of time tracking on other platforms and recently made its way to Android.

When it comes to the mobile app, you get every bit of the regular features that the other time management apps do, such as viewing Reports on your daily/weekly/monthly way of spending your time on work and at home, but what you don’t get with some of the other apps is the Suggestions feature that automatically learns your behaviour and pattern of operating, and includes useful tips to streamline things.

Additionally, there comes a serious amount of customization to Toggl, which allows you to set up goals for different projects, clients, and relate them all with unique tags which can be easily looked up using the app’s Shortcuts feature.

While we like the fact that Harvest (another major player in the online time tracker service business) offers an Android app for business-oriented users to manage their time on the go, it may not be best for individual users. The simplified design is good to work with and the dedicated Expense Tracker module in the app is perfect to use on business trips, as it allows you to not only create invoices and send them out but also log them with actual receipt photos.

On the time management side of things, you can create Projects and even manage the ones you created online by syncing them with the app, and a special feature for freelancers allows them to create timesheets for billable and non-billable hours.

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Are you looking for a time tracker app to help you individually get better at managing your daily routine and life in general, or want a powerful tool to manage your business and workforce efficiently?

Passionate About Public Health? Here’s A Chance To Get Involved

Passionate about Public Health? Here’s a Chance to Get Involved Student Health Services seeking student health ambassadors: info sessions this week

Sophomore Matthew Walker (Sargent) and junior Caroline Jens (Sargent), both student health ambassadors, assisted at LGBTQ&A, an annual event organized by student health ambassadors. Photo by Rachel Callahan (COM)

Are you passionate about public health? Are you interested in helping promote student wellness on campus? Would you like to develop leadership skills and gain experience in the field of public health? If so, consider applying to become a BU student health ambassador (SHA).

The ambassadors work closely with Wellness & Prevention Services to serve as liaisons between Student Health Services and the BU student body and play a vital role in the University community, says junior Therese Clover (CGS, Sargent), one of this year’s 15 ambassadors. “As students ourselves, we have an inside perspective as to what health-related needs are—and are not—being met on campus. And due to our connection with SHS, we are able to discuss these successes and inadequacies with the people who have the resources and authority to make a difference.”

The program, which launched more than a decade ago, is looking for rising sophomores and juniors interested in peer health education. Applicants do not need to have a health background; previous ambassadors have had majors ranging from engineering and communications to business and liberal arts. Volunteers are required to commit up to 10 hours per week during a semester; duties include attending weekly meetings, making presentations to peers about topics like handling stress and developing resiliency, creating free health kits, planning events, and assisting the Wellness office.

Current freshmen and sophomores can find out more about this program at one of two information sessions this week, on Wednesday, March 20, and Thursday, March 21, both at 6:30 pm.

“Peer educators, like the SHAs, are so important to communicating about and promoting health and wellness among our students,” says Erica Schonman, Wellness & Prevention program coordinator. “Peer educators can help promote wellness in ways that professional staff can’t: people, including college students, often make changes based on a combination of what they know and the behavior of their peers. Thus, peer educators can help to make sure that students have accurate information about resources on campus, raise awareness, and set an example by engaging actively with wellness.”

Student health ambassadors help plan and execute health-related programs for undergraduates across the University. They host events like Sex in the Dark, a popular annual Q&A panel featuring sexual health experts, and its queer-focused offshoot, LGBTQ&A. SHAs also support events run by other departments, including the College of Arts & Sciences Midnight Breakfast and therapy dogs at Mugar Memorial Library during finals week, and lead outreach at well-being events on campus, like the annual Sustainability Fair. In addition, they assemble and distribute more than 1,000 kits each year, among them finals survival guides (filled with study tips, pencils, and Post-its) and flu buddy kits (tissues, thermometers, and hand sanitizer). And they are the driving force behind Wellness & Prevention’s most popular service, Condom Fairy, which discreetly distributes contraceptives like internal and external condoms and lube to about 5,000 students annually.

To support their professional development, student health ambassadors work closely with SHS professionals and have the opportunity to attend conferences and meetings, like the annual regional BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA—a conference specifically for peer education groups, held each spring in New England. Over the past two years, SHAs have won two regional awards: In 2023, BU’s SHAs were named Outstanding Peer Education Group, and their inaugural LGBTQ&A event won the BACCHUS National Outstanding Peer Education Program. This year, the group’s leader, senior Christian Espino (Sargent), was named Outstanding Peer Educator.

“My favorite part of being an SHA is definitely the learning experience that comes with this role,” says junior Gayatri Bajaj (Sargent). “Every time we have a meeting, I walk out learning something new—whether that be in the realm of public health, professional development, or even a fun fact about my fellow SHAs, I’m always learning.”

Becoming a student health ambassador is a competitive process. This year, the program has openings for just five or six new ambassadors. (Most of those accepted remain involved with the program until graduation.) The deadline for applying for next year is March 28 at 9 am. Applications can be filled out online here.

“Though we are not experts by any means, we strive to create a culture of wellness around campus in a way that is designed by and for students to really make an impact, which I think makes a big difference in creating a healthy environment at BU,” says Bajaj.

“Personally, the SHA group was an opportunity for me to find a niche of health-minded students, where I could further develop my passions for public health and take an initiative to see some change on my campus,” says Espino. “Having the SHA group helped me find people who had the same passions as I did and find a home away from home.”

Information sessions will be held Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 pm in the Wellness & Prevention Services Conference Room, 930 Comm Ave, and Thursday, March 21, at 6:30 pm in CAS Room 132, 725 Comm Ave.

Graduate student Madeleine O’Keefe (CAS’18, COM’19) can be reached at [email protected]; follow her on Twitter @OKeefeMadeleine.

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6 Web Apps To Supercharge Your Spotify Experience

Spotify is a great music service that provides a lot of value on its own due to its large song collection and awesome recommendation algorithms, but there are other tools that complement the service to help users discover music and build playlists in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

In this article we’ll take a look at six of the best Spotify web apps that you need to try.

1. Rekl.be

On its own, Spotify is able to track the likes of individual users and make music recommendations via auto-generated playlists. chúng tôi extends this functionality to cover a group of people.

All you need to do is sign up to the service, create a room and add your friends. Then you can generate a playlist based on your collective likes, and it will be added to your Spotify account immediately.

2. Spot On Track

Spot On Track helps you find out which songs are trending on Spotify through its daily and weekly charts which are updated daily and can be filtered by country.

You can also view specific songs to see how they’ve performed on the charts over time. For each song you will see the number of streams as well as if it is going up or coming down in a particular country or globally.

3. Playlist Miner

Playlist Miner helps you generate a playlist on the fly by aggregating the top songs from public playlists on Spotify that match your search criteria. If you’re looking for tracks that match a certain mood or activity, such as “dance” or “workout,” you can type the name, and it will find playlists that match that term and create a new playlist based on the top tracks across all the playlists it found.

It requires that you connect your Spotify account so that the playlist it generates can be added to your account.

4. Magic Playlist

Magic Playlist helps you create a new playlist in seconds based on another song. All you need to do is head over to the website and enter the name of the song you want to base your playlist on in the search box. Within seconds, you will be provided with a shiny new playlist of 30 songs, including the one you entered, which you can then save to your Spotify profile.

5. Boil the Frog

Boil the Frog is a tool to create playlists that gradually take you from one music style to another. You only need to enter the names of two artists into the provided fields and then hit “Boil the frog” to create the playlist.

When the styles of the two artists are similar, it only takes a few songs to connect them together, but it could take more tracks for dissimilar artists.

6. Sort Your Music

Wrapping Up

Ayo Isaiah

Ayo Isaiah is a freelance writer from Lagos who loves everything technology with a particular interest in open-source software. Follow him on Twitter.

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6 Smartphone Camera Tricks You Probably Are Not Aware Of

Believe it or not, so-called “camera phones” were once derided as little more than a novelty. Fast forward a few years and high-quality camera sensors are a staple of smartphones. In fact, smartphone cameras have all but completely replaced traditional point and shoot cameras. But smartphone cameras aren’t just for proliferating the selfie culture. They can actually do quite a bit more than simply snap a few photos. Here are some little-known smartphone camera tricks that can make your life easier.

1. See infrared light

Infrared beams are invisible to the naked eye. However most digital camera sensors, including the one in your phone, can “see” infrared as a purplish light. There aren’t many practical applications for this, but you can check to see if the batteries in your various remotes need replacing.

Open the camera app on your phone and point the questionable remote at your phone’s camera sensor. While looking at your phone’s display, press a few buttons on the remote. If you can’t see any purple light, replace the batteries in the remote and try again.

2. Use the volume button to snap a photo

Ask any selfie enthusiast, sometimes it’s hard to balance your phone and tap the screen to take a photo. Even when snapping a normal photo, you have to sacrifice the stability two hands afford by removing one hand to tap the screen. This can result in shaky, amateurish images. However there is a better way. Virtually every single smartphone out there has the ability to take a photo by simply pressing the volume rocker. Forget the onscreen shutter button, and enjoy greater control and better compositions in your photos.

3. Scan negatives

If you have old negatives that you would like to have a look at, you can do so without spending money on getting them developed. If your camera app has a negative effect, you can digitize your negatives without downloading an app or paying for a dime. Simply hold the negative strip up to a light source and snap a photo of the negative film strip with your camera’s negative effect. The negative effect of the camera will essentially reverse the color of the negative – the end result being a cheap and easy way to scan your old negatives and bring them into the digital age.

4. Read barcodes

Everyone knows that your camera can read QR codes, but there are apps that enable you to read standard barcodes as well. Barcode readers can help the average consumer lean more about a product. Businesses can use barcode readers for inventory management. In addition, you can use an app like RedLaser to help you sniff out the best deals on the web.

5. Monitor your heart

Fitness trackers are incredibly popular helping people get back into shape. In addition to monitoring steps, more and more trackers have the ability to measure a user’s heart rate. Unfortunately, fitness trackers can be quite expensive. Luckily, you don’t need an expensive piece of rubber around your wrist to give you that information. Instead, download the Instant Heart Rate app, place your finger on your phone’s camera sensor, and start monitoring your heart’s health. The app will give you heart rate measurements and even a real time PPG graph.

6. Translate (virtually) any language

Heading to someplace exotic for your next vacation? Grab the Google Translate app, and instantly translate text from 103 different languages. Simply point your phone’s camera at the foreign text and a translation is instantly provided on your screen. With your smartphone and Google Translate, you’ll never have to stumble through a conversation with a local just to find the bathroom.

Conclusion

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