Body drawings, info tables, fun activities, oh my! Feb. 24-28 marks National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
Students educated on the importance of eating disorders have decided to help bring awareness to our campus community. The Psychology of Eating Disorders winter session course prompted Assistant Professor of Psychology Taryn Myers and her students to plan a week full of events dedicated to providing information to the students, faculty, and staff.
“Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of mental illnesses, which makes them extremely important. Even more important, they tend to be quite common among college students,” said Myers.
Throughout the week, students will have the opportunity to participate in activities that will open their eyes to the importance of disordered eating habits.
“I hope people take away that eating disorders can affect anyone, male or female,” said sophomore Morgan McKenzie.
Another hope is for the participants to learn facts which they may have not known prior to the week.
“I volunteered to help throughout the week because there is valuable information people don’t know and they need to become more aware,” said senior Kamil Inmon.
Many people fear openly discussing this topic, yet talking about these issues allows for revelations within people’s lives.
“After taking this class, I realized I was becoming a product of my society, and my household, and I didn’t even realize it. As much as everyone would like to think they don’t care about the standards society has set for women and men, no one is completely exempt,” said junior Sarah Nwokorie. “I think it’s easier to go against the grain when you know exactly what you’re coming against.”
As students head into the final activities, there is an underlying message that Myers and her students want the campus community to carry with them every day.
“I would love for students to take away a better understanding of eating disorders, but more importantly, I would like them to take away the message to love their own bodies. The week of activities we have set up really emphasizes appreciating what your body can do for you and loving yourself as you are. I hope this week leaves students with this sense of positivity,” said Myers.
There will be various activities throughout the week promoting self-confidence and positive body image.
“One of my favorite activities planned for the week is Operation Beautiful. Everyone can participate by writing positive messages and posting them around campus,” said McKenzie.
During the week, students can also attend a panel to become better informed about eating disorders and their bodies in general.
“I’m also going to be a part of the panel to be of assistance to spread more information. I’ll actually be discussing the project that I created while I was in Dr. Myers’s Psychology of Eating Disorders class,” said Nwokorie.
At the end of the week, the combined efforts of Myers and her students will prove to be worth it.
“I just hope that seeing these tables and attending these activities will make people aware of how unreasonable cultural standards of thinness are and how dangerous engaging in disordered eating patterns could be. I also hope that folks learn to love themselves just a little bit more,” said Myers. “Having seen people struggle, if we can help just one person not to engage in these behaviors, this week will be successful.”