By Shoham Geva, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 16, 2014
The Body-Peace Corps, a student-run organization, along with MBody and University Health Services, kicked off this year’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week with a Valentine's Day-themed event on the Diag Friday, and a Twitter campaign Sunday.
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The campaign for awareness comes a week before National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which is Feb. 23 to March 1. It also falls during a larger month-long push — February is Eating Disorders Awareness Month.
On campus, the week has been held consistently for the past decade, though its sponsors have changed from year to year. In the past, it’s been run through Counseling and Psychological Services and the University.
LSA sophomore India Peterson, Body-Peace Corps event chair, said the week is necessary at the University because it helps remove some of the stigma surrounding eating disorders and helps students form more positive body images.
“It’s really important because a lot of people have the wrong view of eating disorders and they don’t know all the facts,” Peterson said. “It’s just important to promote positive body image because I know that especially with the media, especially on college campuses, a lot of people struggle with having a positive image.”
The Valentine’s Day event, called “Trash Your Trash Talk,” was sponsored in partnership with student organization Do Random Acts of Kindness. It encouraged students to build a more positive self-image through writing negative thoughts and feelings about their bodies on pieces of paper and then crumpling them up and throwing them away. Volunteers also handed out free flowers with inspirational quotes attached.
Peterson estimated that about 700 flowers were handed out throughout the day, and said that most participants had a positive reaction to the event.
“Almost every person that participated in the ‘Trash Your Trash Talk’ activity commented on how much they enjoyed it, and what a good idea it was,” she said.
On Sunday evening, the group moved their efforts into the virtual sphere, starting a Twitter campaign for students to tweet messages of hope and inspiration, as well as personal experiences about eating disorders and eating disorder recovery, under the hashtag #EDUM —Eating Disorders at the University of Michigan.
Peterson said the group chose to add a virtual component to the week because of the amount of time college students spend online.
The Body-Peace Corps, along with MBody and the University Health Service, will continue to host events through Friday. Planned activities include workshops on mindful eating, a documentary screening and a crafting night.
The groups will conclude the week with the implementation of Operation Beautiful, a project that encourages students to write positive post-it notes.
“People can look out for inspirational uplifting messages that we’re going to be posting all around campus,” Peterson said.