Aware of the Disorder

In recognition of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, the Body Image Network (BIN) and Colgate Advocates for Responsible Eating (CARES) organized a variety of activities and information sessions to educate the student body.

“We hope that this week will expose the realities of eating disorders, correct some of the misconceptions about what constitutes an eating disorder – and who gets eating disorders – and also encourage more healthy body image,” President of BIN senior Andrea Miller said.

On Monday, February 28, members of BIN set up a O’Connor Campus Center (Coop) table to hand out information and talk about eating disorders. Members of BIN and CARES also covered the walls of the gym with information on eating disorders. Free massages and a relaxation yoga class were also offered in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week to help alleviate stress.

The events culminated in a Brown Bag Lunch in the Women Studies Center. At the Brown Bag, senior Katie Fedorka and sophomore Amy Mastrocinque spoke about their own recovery from an eating disorder in an effort to help other students who may be currently facing eating disorders.

“When I participated in a similar Brown Bag last fall, a student told me that hearing the speech made her realize that she also had a problem and needed to get help,” Fedorka said.

Likewise, Mastrocinque finds value in providing first-hand accounts of eating disorders.

“I choose to speak because I know it is hard to really connect to the power of an eating disorder unless you hear a real struggle,” she said. “You can recite statistics all you want, but it’s not until you see a survivor that it really hits you.”

At the Brown Bag, both girls told their personal stories dating back to early childhood. Mastrocinque compared eating disorders to alcoholism. She explained that just as alcoholics need to go to Alcoholics Anonymous for years, eating disorders are also a constant battle.

“I realized that I wanted to be strong and I asked myself, ‘Are you happy, are you strong, can you do what you want to do?'” Mastrocinque said.

Both Fedorka and Mastrocinque became involved in BIN during their freshmen year.

“The Body Image Network consists of about 15 students who are dedicated to spreading awareness about eating disorders, and promoting healthy body image and lifestyles across campus,” Miller said.

BIN and CARES also strive to dispel stereotypes about eating disorders.

“People of all races, classes and sexualities are affected by them,” Fedorka said.

BIN member sophomore Pooja Bhandari further highlighted the importance of the week’s events.

“Members made posters to educate the student body about the differences between the media’s perception of a healthy body and reality,” said.