The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the Editor: Lack of publicity for NEDAW shameful

This week, February 24-March 2, 2013, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This event is a nationwide occurrence aimed at raising the awareness of the prevalence of eating disorders and their widespread effects across our country. You may not have known this, and who should fault you? There was absolutely zero mention of the week in any shape or form on campus. No events are being held, except for one organized by Active Minds, a very small student group. Even then, the event we held was not focused on eating disorders specifically, as we had naively assumed that there would be a whole slew of events to supplement ours during the week.  It seems incredibly and terribly ironic to me that on a campus so focused on the ethos of “social justice” and raising awareness, we would so grossly overlook an issue that affects each and every one of us on a daily basis. I am ashamed to be a member of a community that refuses to come together to recognize the importance of acknowledging and promoting the open and honest discussion of serious, life threatening illnesses. We promote personal wellness as a facet of self-gov, and to blatantly disregard one of the most prevalent issues of wellness on the one week in which it is openly encouraged to discuss what it is sometimes seen as a taboo topic is reprehensible.

Ironically enough, the theme of this year’s NEDAwareness Week is “Everybody Knows Somebody.” While many people may be lucky enough to not experience a full-fledged eating disorder in their life, I ask you to recall a time when eating or food served as a source of stress. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by disordered eating. If you don’t think you do, it might be time to start having deeper conversations with your friends. Eating disorders happen, disordered eating happens, discussions about either don’t happen nearly enough.

Ignoring NEDAW is sending the message to all those who struggle with disordered eating on a daily basis that their struggle isn’t important to us, that this community is unwilling or unable to recognize their needs. Grinnell, we are better than that. I know we are.

In lieu of any official (or unofficial) programming this year, I ask you to make an effort to reach out to your friends. Last year’s NEDAW speaker Nicole Cueno ’02 made an excellent point. At her event, she stressed the power of simply asking someone “How are you?” and genuinely caring about the answer. It can really be that simple. If you are concerned that you or someone you know (or don’t really know that well) may be struggling with disordered eating, get help. Reach out and let them know you care and want to help them. Set up an appointment with SHACS, chat with your SA, send an email to your RLC, call home. Let someone know when you are concerned, because, despite our failure to recognize NEDAW this year, this campus is able (and willing) to help. Please go to for more suggestions on helping someone in the fight against eating disorders.

Daria Brosius ’15

Editor’s note: Brosius is a copy editor for the S&B

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