With a variety of activities organized by Ashley Yang ’11, staff psychologist Meghann Wraight-Steinmetz and area coordinator Marissa Miller, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week will be recognized at HWS from Monday, Feb. 22 through Friday, Feb. 26.
The annual National Eating Disorder Awareness Week serves to raise awareness of the widespread problem of eating disorders and to eliminate the stigma that accompanies such mental illness.
Throughout the week, focusing on the theme “Be Comfortable in Your Genes,” staff and student groups such as Women’s Collective, RA staff, Beta Sigma house, Campus Peer Ministers and the Laurel Society will be tabling in Scandling Campus Center during lunch hours, distributing ribbons, bookmarks and cupcakes to raise awareness about eating disorders. In addition, psychologists from the Center for Counseling and Student Wellness will be available all week to provide free and confidential mental health screening, particularly pertaining to unhealthy eating behaviors.
Body Peace Treaty, based on a similar treaty published by Seventeen magazine, will be posted throughout campus, encouraging the HWS community to see alternative, positive ways to view themselves and their bodies.
A clothing drive, “Are you comfortable in your genes?” organized by Yang, will be on-going throughout the week. Yang invites students to donate clothing they are keeping “just in case” they lose a few pounds. The clothes will then be donated to a local organization.
“We are hoping to send the message that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that we should buy clothes to conform to us, not the other way around,” Yang says.
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Dr. Susan M. Yussman, Chief of Outpatient Adolescent Services and Assistant Professor for the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, will give the keynote lecture of the week at 2:30 p.m. in the Sanford Room. Yussman is also is part of the treatment team for the Golisano Children’s Hospital Eating Disorder Program in Rochester. She will discuss the need for awareness and prevention of eating disorders, as well as treatment.
For the culmination of the week’s events, Yang has organized an open mic and speak-out at the Cellar Pub for Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. Students are invited to speak, read poetry, or sing about topics such as self-acceptance, body image, or eating disorders.
“I am hopeful that the week will be a success and become an HWS tradition,” says Yang. “Eating disorders are such a taboo topic, and by promoting awareness and education I hope to make discussing and acknowledging them more acceptable because right now too many people are suffering in silence.”
For more information, visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ or contact the Center for Counseling and Student Wellness at ext. 3388.