Feb. 21 to Feb. 27 marks an important week in our national dialogue: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This annual effort attempts to enlighten the public about the difficulties of eating disorders, providing an important platform for people who have struggled and are currently struggling with them.
Leading the charge around campus when it comes to NEDA week is the Student Health and Wellness organization Students Helping to Achieve Positive Esteem. SHAPE works to promote body acceptance, positive body image, and self-esteem. The organization is spearheading a number of initiatives and efforts to provide visibility to NEDA week at UConn.
The Daily Campus was lucky enough to conduct an email interview with two SHAPE staff members: SHAPE intern Lizi Shaul and member Ben Medvedev.
“THERE ARE MANY RESOURCES ON CAMPUS FOR THOSE SUFFERING FROM AN EATING DISORDER OR KNOW OF SOMEONE AND OUR GOAL IS TO MAKE THOSE RESOURCES KNOWN FOR STUDENTS.”Ben Medvedev
“NEDA Week closely aligns with SHAPE’s goals on campus which are to spread awareness about body image and eating disorders,” Shaul said. “NEDA Week is a time where students can learn about these topics and hopefully help create change in a world that holds a lot of stigma around body image.”
“There are many resources on campus for those suffering from an eating disorder or know of someone and our goal is to make those resources known for students,” Medvedev said.
SHAPE has led a number of NEDA events already and has a few more planned leading into this weekend.
“SHAPE is leading a Kahoot event with body image trivia, doing a “give one, get one” event to spread positivity, and having a virtual art show,” said Shaul. “All of these events are meant to spark conversation on campus about eating disorders and body image in hopes to raise Awareness.”
“There is one more virtual event for the week and that is the art show. For those who would like to participate, submissions will be accepted until February 24th and then voting will be from February 25th to February 27th.” said Medvedev. “Other than that, throughout the week students can promote NEDA messages and be mindful of what they say.”
“SHAPE IS LEADING A KAHOOT EVENT WITH BODY IMAGE TRIVIA, DOING A ‘GIVE ONE, GET ONE’ EVENT TO SPREAD POSITIVITY, AND HAVING A VIRTUAL ART SHOW. ALL OF THESE EVENTS ARE MEANT TO SPARK CONVERSATION ON CAMPUS ABOUT EATING DISORDERS AND BODY IMAGE IN HOPES TO RAISE AWARENESS.”Lizi Shaul
The motto of this year’s NEDA week is “See the Change. Be the Change.”
“To ‘see the change’ is a way of looking forward to all of the growth within ourselves and the communities that we are a part of, specifically surrounding eating disorders,” Shaul explained. “To ‘be the change’ is to help create change, help cultivate a healthier environment. Whether that is through being involved in organizations on campus, getting involved in NEDA week events, or simply spreading awareness or positivity.”
Ultimately, though NEDA week is important for raising eating disorder awareness nationally, this is a year-round proposition for SHAPE
“We have several more events coming up in the future including our upcoming plate smash that is happening on March 22nd from noon to 3 PM on Fairfield Way,” said Medvedev. “Students will be given plates to write negative comments on and they will be given the chance to smash it as a way to relieve any negative thoughts. We are very excited about it and would love for students to participate! In addition, SHAPE is always taking applications to become a Member!”
For more information on NEDA week and SHAPE, visit their website.