University hosts body image awareness events

The Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week at St. John’s shed light on serious issues plaguing many young people.

Students said they learned a lot from the various events held during the week.

“Anyone can have an eating disorder, not just skinny women,” said Kathy Alejo, a junior. “We just have to learn how to detect it before it takes over your life.”

This year’s event was co-sponsored by various departments including Student Wellness, Residence Life and Campus Activities.

The week kicked off Feb. 21 with a Women Empowerment Luncheon, sponsored by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.

On Feb. 23, Resident Advisors set up interactive art areas in the residence halls for students to explore their attitudes toward their bodies, celebrating all body shapes and sizes.

At the event, students filled out a survey provided by the Screening for Mental Health Organization, a non-profit group that gives “educational screening programs for students to help them identify symptoms of depression, eating disorders, and anxiety” as stated on the survey.

Donovan Hall community room was packed with students Wednesday Feb. 24, as Wellness Peer Educators; Mary Ellen Bingham, the Queens campus nutritionist; and Lori Marchessault, wellness education specialist, spoke about healthy eating habits. Bingham and Marchessault spoke to students about the importance of embracing the bodies they have, regardless of the messages the media portrays.

Bingham led another event called “Eat Better, Feel Better, Look Better” on Thursday, Feb. 25. Bingham spoke about the dangers of dieting in order to help students make better choices on what food they choose to put in their bodies.

The Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week ended with a visit from Misty May Treanor, professional beach volleyball player, and Olympic gold medalist during the Women in Sports “Pink Zone” event Saturday, Feb. 27. Tickets from the event went to support breast cancer awareness efforts.

Nick Kofteris, a senior said, “I really enjoyed the event with Misty May. I learned a lot from her and I’m glad I was there.”