The Project U Fashion Show in the Mabel Brown Room supports a positive, healthy body image

Julie Conlon

Equinox Staff


“Walk like a champion” was the command for the seventh annual Project U Fashion Show in the Mabel Brown Room Feb. 29, 2012 at Keene State College.

With a reigning theme of “Live, Share, Model, Inspire,” the evening’s festivities included a fashion show that featured KSC student models, free “mocktails” and healthy desserts, as well as a prize drawing raffle.

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The many sponsors for the event set up tables in the back room with their products and literature displayed.

KSC Champions, Advocates for Healthy Communities, and the Student Dietetics Association made a strong presence by offering healthy snacks like fruit smoothies that could easily be made in a dorm room.

The Counseling Center and the KSC Dietetics Program, also sponsors, set up tables along with Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) and “Vision 2020.”

Tiffany Mathews, coordinator of Health and Wellness for KSC, said the night revolved around three themes.

“First, we promote a healthy body image, then healthy choices, and third, self-awareness,” Mathews explained.

“We really want to get people thinking about what their values are, loving themselves, staying true to themselves—things like that.”

KSC Dietetic interns Leah Rosechly and Emily Quinn shared avocado brownie bites with the crowd as they spread the message of beauty.

Quinn shared, “Tonight is really about loving your body and shape and size and knowing beauty is everywhere. It’s a special night to take time to really recognize that.”

Rosechly added, “Tonight we want to see beauty in everyone and celebrate that.”

KSC freshman Hannah Norton attended the event with her sorority and walked in the show.

“Tonight I’m going to walk!” Norton exclaimed before the show began.

“They needed more people who are confident with who they are—I’m ready to walk with them!”

She went on to express gratitude for the event that promoted positive body image and said, “I think this is great because at any age, it’s such a huge problem in today’s society. I think it’s extremely important for women to have a positive influence and love their body.”

KSC student Steve George played host and started the evening off as he called the first round of models to prepare.

George called each model to the stage and told the audience their name, nickname, year, and study area as they worked the runway.

As the students walked down a prepared runway, George also stated what made each model unique and read a prepared statement from each student explaining their values and what they hope to accomplish before graduation.

George, “The Love Doctor,” humored the crowd with his comedic timing and corny jokes as the models strutted the catwalk for a full crowd.

Following the first round of models, George announced a raffle for an X-Box and iPad.

As winners were chosen, George apologized and the crowd laughed as he instead handed the winners $5 gift cards to places like Fritz’s and Life is Sweet.

As the evening continued, several more rounds of models consisting of men, women, sisters, and brothers walked the runway for the crowd.

Even Mathews, due to have a baby in May, walked and showed off her dance moves, prompting George to ask her to sit down as students applauded and laughed.

Halfway through, Mathews called up the various sponsors and asked each club and organization to share its mission with the crowd.

Brian Quigley, director of the Counseling Center, shared his table’s strategy of having students “tattoo their hand” by writing a value important to them on their hand as a reminder.

Quigley told the crowd, “Write down something you wouldn’t sacrifice for anybody,” as he reminded students to stay true to themselves.

Other groups such as Advocates for Healthy Communities and Mentors in Violence Prevention shared their clubs’ missions and the recurring theme of promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Virginia Mariolo and Allie Lafrenaye, members of MVP, said their participation in the evening coincided with the idea of acceptance.

“MVP goes with the idea of accepting who you are and preventing violence,” Mariolo and Lafrenaye said.

Senior Chelsea Schneeweiss stated she attended the event because it was “cool to see people strut their stuff.”

Schneeweiss explained, “Project U promotes healthy body, healthy weight, and to embrace your skin and love who you are. I couldn’t agree more!”

As the event continued, Mathews shared several videos with the crowd.

One advertised a fake photoshop kit for women to create their “perfect” look.

Another, produced here at KSC, advertised April’s “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” KSC’s sixth annual walk to end rape, sexual assault, and gender violence.

Reflecting on the event, George said he believed the night was a success.

George said, “I think that with all the stations set up I think they got the message.”

Director Quigley commented on the event and said, “I think for me I would hope that people would walk away from this recognizing that they don’t need to change who they are—they need to accept who they are.”

As the once filled Mabel Brown Room began to pack up, Mathews said she was pleased with the event.

“It went very well,” Mathews said.

“We had a number of people who were co-sponsors—a lot of collaboration went into planning the event which I think is almost as great as the implementation of the event.”

She continued by saying she was glad to see a variety of students in the audience, commenting on the mix of students from different organizations and academic classes.

“It was great to give people the opportunity to learn about the student organizations on campus who are focused on promoting healthy behaviors,” Mathews said.


Julie Conlon can be contacted at


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