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Eating Awareness Committee uses films, seminars to educate public
February 17, 2012Tweet
The University’s Eating Awareness Committee has developed a spring programming schedule that highlights the variety of issues the group is working to educate the campus community about.
“It’s evolved over the past 10 years into something much bigger, much more broad than just eating problems,” said Jennifer Wegmann, lecturer in Health and Wellness Studies and a member of the committee. “Our mission is to provide education, outreach and resources to faculty, students and the community in terms of eating disorders, body image, exercise and nutrition.”
Helping students maintain healthy and balanced eating habits has become a necessary part of campus life. The American Journal of College Health reports that 13.6 percent of women and more than 3 percent of men on U.S. college campuses display eating-disorder symptoms, Wegmann said.
Enter the Eating Awareness Committee, which consists of representatives from University departments and offices such as health and wellness studies, athletics, health services, the University Counseling Center, nutrition services, Campus Recreational Services and Residential Life. Sarah Thompson of health and wellness studies is the committee chair.
The committee not only utilizes campus resources from those offices and departments to help students, but also partners with local counselors and clinics to assist those in need.
The EAC also features two student representatives who, in turn, lead a student subcommittee that offers its own events and programs.
“I think we’ve caught people’s attention over the last several years,” Wegmann said. “We have no funding stream, but we’re able to do wonderful things.”
The spring EAC schedule of events is:
• Feb. 23: “Miss Representation,” 6 p.m., AC-Chamber Hall. Free and open to the public. The film and panel discussion with local experts will address the concepts of how youth are being sold the concept that girls and women’s value lies in their beauty, sexuality and youth.
• Feb. 29: “Fake, Fact, or Fiction? Analyzing Popular Culture’s Images of Beauty and Behavior,” 6 p.m., UU-120. Free and open to the public. This program will explore the impact of cultural-and media-based messages on men and women’s thinking and behavior and help guide participants in how to navigate, survive and thrive in an increasingly media-based world.
• March 8: “Someday Melissa,” 7 p.m., UU-Mandela Room, free and open to the public. A film screening and Skype discussion with Judy Arvin, who will share the story of her daughter’s death and the warning signs of eating disorders.
• March 23: 6th Annual Health Fair, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., West Gym, free and open to the public. Sample healthy food and drink, participate in exercise sessions and health screenings, enjoy a chair massage and more.
• April 21: 3rd Annual Sprint Triathlon, 9 a.m., West Gym. The EAC’s major fund-raising event, the sprint triathlon is a 400-yard swim in the West Gym pool, followed by a 10-mile bike through the Vestal area and a 5K run on campus.
Wegmann sees great potential for growth in the Sprint Triathlon event, as its participants have been split between community members and faculty/staff. Wegmann herself was one of several faculty members who took part last year.
“It’s an untapped area,” she said. “There are lots of runs and races. But the beauty of (the Sprint Triathlon) is it is people who are just starting out. It’s perfect. The training is reasonable: a quarter-mile swim, a 10-mile bike ride and a 5K. As a beginner, it’s really attainable. People are seeing that and getting excited about that.”
The Eating Awareness Committee’s services and programs demonstrate that “there’s no end to what we can do,” Wegmann said.
“We include everybody and make it about every issue,” she said. “Whether it’s nutrition, eating disorders, body building, compulsive exercise or dieting in general, we try to hit it all.”