The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Talks, activities target eating disorder awareness

Eating disorders and disordered eating affect a strikingly high percentage of college students. The exact number is not known because of the stigma surrounding eating disorders, but without a doubt, the effects are undeniable. This past week, students, clubs, and faculty participated in events for Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) in order to raise awareness about the proximity and depth of this issue.

“Four years ago when I came back onto campus, we created an Eating Disorder Awareness committee because we know that it’s a topic that’s relevant to our students and our community,” said Jen Jacobsen, Health and Wellness Coordinator. “That’s what led to Grinnell observing Eating Disorder Awareness Week.”

The week’s events were designed to help break the taboos surrounding disordered eating and open up the campus for discussion on safe, healthy eating and how body image is defined. The Wellness Office, SHACS, RLCs, and student groups collaborated to create a week’s worth of lectures, movie viewings, discussion groups, and positivity events.

Perhaps the most important goal of the week is to demonstrate that disordered eating and eating disorders deserve more in-depth discussion and recognition as stigmas begin to fade and to help more people realize that they are not alone in their struggles to remain healthy. Disordered eating includes seemingly minor behaviors such as skipping meals or feeling shame while eating as well as more dangerous behaviors that are commonly recognized as eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.

“We actually have a ton of students on campus who suffer from disordered eating and eating disorders,” said Eliza-Eve Leas ’13, a student organizer of Eating Awareness Disorder Week (Leas is also the Features Editor for the S&B). “It’s mostly hidden; people don’t want to talk about it. People don’t want to discuss the fact that they’re struggling with something that they’re trying to work through. People in general talk about hating their bodies, but they seldom think ‘I need to talk to a counselor’ or ‘I should talk to the nutritionist.’ Eating Awareness Disorder Week is about making that leap, helping people get help.”

Major events for this year’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week included a talk by Loosehead RLC Autumn Wilke entitled “Body Image, The Media, & Grinnell”; a film about body image entitled “America the Beautiful”; T-shirt making; and a talk by Megan Cueno ’02 on her experiences with eating disorders. Other smaller events included a “Why I Love My Body…” board in the Bear Athletic Center and student group Real Men’s positive note-writing workshop outside of the Spencer Grill. The events were designed to help promote positive feelings about body image and de-stigmatize discussion about disordered eating.

The week also serves to encourage students to seek out healthy living resources, even though Grinnell may not have all of the resources a student may need.

“It’s really tough for people suffering from an eating disorder here at Grinnell because we lack the comprehensive resources of a larger city or school.” said Leas.

Despite this lack of major resources, Jacobsen encouraged students to seek help from the resources available.

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    chloe robertsMay 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    pleeeaaseee, or else i will fail a bit!

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    chloeMay 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    this is not a very helpful web. i am doing an exhibition at school about self-image and i want o know a game i could do, sort of like an activity. at our booths at school on the big night, i will have all my visual aids and still need to think of a game.. it would be really helpful if you could put somethings like that on here as i have to be finished with my visual aids by tomorrow. i am done with my two posters and my brochure, news-report and my power-point, so please help me find what to do for a game/activity. it can have anything to do with my line of inquiry about health choices, but remember that my subject is about self-image.