Delta Phi Epsilon and Active Minds put on the annual Eating Disorder Awareness Week to bring awareness to the Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) organization. Last week, the sorority tabled in the Young Student Center, focusing on bringing awareness about eating disorders and embracing positive body image.
According to a statistic included on the ANAD pamphlet that was handed out at their table, “90–95 percent of individuals who suffer from eating disorders are girls.”
KSC junior and double major in in elementary education and psychology with a minor in addictions Rachel Murphy is involved with both organizations. She joined both organizations during her first year at KSC. She explained that Active Minds is an organization that fights the stigma against mental health. Murphy said, “We’re big advocates for the eating disorder awareness week.” She explained that she works under the Vice President of Programming in Delta Phi Epsilon. Murphy said, “Basically, we have a table every day [during Eating Disorder Awareness Week], where each day is a different positive body image theme.” Murphy said, “ANAD is one of our philanthropies.”
KSC sophomore and member of Delta Phi Epsilon Lilian Poulin said the sorority has three philanthropies. Poulin said, “Our first one is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, ANAD and the Delta Phi Epsilon Education Foundation. The last one is mainly for sisters who have difficulty paying for school or paying their dues. We would never want to turn someone away just because they can’t afford the cost of joining an organization.” She explained this week is ANAD Awareness Week, but the sorority does things to benefit that philanthropy throughout the semester.
“The tables are there for anyone and we’re there to give support to anyone,” Poulin said. “We’re selling little goody bags and they come with a purple bracelet that says ANAD awareness and it says healthy is happy on them. They also have a little compact mirror, two chocolates and a little sticker.” She mentioned they sold for two dollars and all the profits go to ANAD. There was also a free benefit concert held where donations were accepted.
Poulin said aside from tabling, they also post sticky notes on the bathroom mirrors across campus with positive messages and compliments. “Also, at the table we have a board with sticky notes and some have messages and some are blank. You can take or leave one,” Poulin said.
Poulin went on to discuss why she felt the tabling was so successful.
“I think that this tabling in particular is the most beneficial for students that we do throughout the year because this is the one I’ve seen the most outsiders come up to,” Poulin said. “Usually, when it’s a tabling for a Greek Life thing, only Greek Life and friends of people who are sitting at the table will come, but yesterday we had a lot of random strangers coming up and asking what ANAD is. I think that that is beneficial because it shows, at least to me, that we’re getting the word out and that people are noticing and not just walking by a table.”
KSC sophomore and member of Delta Phi Epsilon Casey Lynn Sowle also helped out with the tabling in the student center. “It’s more about the awareness. We obviously love if we can raise money for it, but we just want people to know what ANAD is because it’s such a big issue that plagues so many people our age.” Sowle added, “The whole cause is to give people that place to go and it’s another way to raise that self-image because obviously there’s strength in numbers.” She explained that if you see a bunch of girls sitting at the table and talking about positive image, it can really bring up the mentality all across campus.
“Eating disorders are a touchy subject and a lot of people don’t like to talk about it, but it’s something that’s there and people should be,” Murphy said. “People know about it, but it’s just unspoken.”
Poulin said a family member of hers struggled with anorexia. “I’ve seen kind of first-hand the impact that it has on the individual, but also the family. I wanted to give back and that’s why I joined Delta Phi Epsilon,” Poulin said.
Poulin said, “Obviously, there are all kinds of ridiculous standards that not just women, but also men see every day in the media in celebrities that there’s this standard that we are all supposedly held to to be considered attractive. So, I think it would be fair to say that myself and really anyone who’s seen a magazine probably has struggled or felt badly about themselves at one point in their life.”
Adam Urquhart can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org