As you walk into Milne this week, you will find a small display with a tinfoil person and a sign that says, “3 minutes could save a life.”
I know everyone is busy and headed in various directions, but take a minute to figure out why that figure is there. What do those notes say? To the average reader, they are positive notes about why people around campus are proud to be who they are, but to me, they are hope.
They are hope that a positive message will reach someone in need and that this sign will encourage someone who is struggling to take a preliminary assessment regarding his or her risk for an eating disorder.
I’ll get right to the point: eating disorders suck. They come in all forms and they do not discriminate. They are an all-consuming loud voice that takes over, forcing you to forget all else, and they are the thing that takes your loved one away for a short time, or forever. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) is fighting back against the ED, using the slogan “3 minutes can save a life,” because it is important for those suffering to receive treatment as soon as possible. The slogan is a part of this years’ National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which is February 21st-February 27th and aims to support all people impacted by eating disorders. The voice that promotes our negative body image and feeds the eating disorder will only get louder in secrecy- this display and other events during the National Eating Disorder Awareness week intend to promote self-love and encourage those who need help to reach out and get it.
Personally, my inspiration comes from my younger sister, who has been battling an eating disorder – and kicking butt- for about six years. She has fought endlessly and been through many periods of great recovery, but for now, it seems like a never-ending struggle for her and for those who love her. It is important to me to reach people like my sister with this campaign, to let them know that even when we don’t know what to say, we do love them and wish to support them.
The display in Milne is to raise awareness on our campus and to promote the Proud2BMe campaign, which encourages positive body image and asks people to consider why they are proud to be who they are. Our hope is to bring a more permanent awareness to campus through a newly formed student group, also named Proud 2B Me. Sisters Making A Change (SMAC) has kindly supported my efforts, funded by IRC and SA, because SMAC is an amazing group of women who know that this issue is incredibly important to me and to this campus. I hope that everyone who looks at the display will take a moment to think about its purpose. The display is partially intended as a “coming soon,” for the awareness week, but also for the SMAC, IRC, and SA sponsored event, Mirrorless Monday.
I also hope to reach people who love someone that is struggling and do not know what to do. I am not a therapist or a doctor, I cannot “cure” eating disorders, but I can advocate for those who are lost in the voice of their eating disorders, so that is what I will do. This display in Milne Library, Mirrorless Monday, and the forming Proud2BMe club will focus on speaking out against eating disorders, supporting positive body image, and discussing current legislative and media events on the topic.
On February 22nd, students should look for covered mirrors in all academic buildings and the dining hall bathrooms. Everyone is encouraged to write positive messages on the paper, which will include an explanation for what and why this is occurring, along with a note for an interest meeting to learn more about the National Eating Disorder Association and its’ Proud2BMe campaign.
~ Jane Skinner, SMAC
And while you’re in Milne, be sure to check out the coming exhibit about body image, art, fashion, yoga, and health: “Embrace Every Angle.”