Project Beauty Addresses Body Image on the Colgate Campus

Madison Paulk

“I want to help people realize that they are beautiful and that imperfection is okay,” sophomore Emily Sisto, who is the president and founder of Project Beauty, one of Colgate’s newest student-run organizations, said.

 Sisto and the members of Project Beauty aim to communicate to Colgate that beauty is more than skin deep. On a college campus, especially one with a student body as generally fit and good-looking as Colgate’s, it is not uncommon to feel insecure at times. Project Beauty aims to do away with these insecurities, emphasizing that there is no definitive body image. One should instead focus on searching for clear ways to find inner-happiness and personal acceptance. The club stresses the importance of positive body image by focusing on eating disorder awareness and highlighting the importance of healthy body weight management through diet and exercise. 

Sisto, sophomore Vice President Alyssa Berger and sophomore Treasurer Ali Rakow have worked diligently to ensure the success of the newly organized club. With less than a year of experience under their belts, they have managed to conjure up a significant support base for the group. After self-promoting for a semester, it is not hard to spot the work of Project Beauty on campus. For several weeks, motivational posters have been popping up around Colgate bathrooms and in the Trudy Fitness Center quoting things such as, “You only have one body…take care of it” and “Beauty is more than just a number on a scale.” These positive quotes aim to redefine beauty by prioritizing the value of inner as well as outer beauty and reinforcing that it comes in all shapes and sizes. The leadership of Project Beauty has learned to incorporate these positive body image mottos into everyday life and remain passionate about sharing why they are so important.

When asked what they learned in creating Project Beauty, the girls were quick to respond that they were unprepared for the amount of responsibility it takes to run a club in terms of planning meetings, submitting proposals to the Budget Allocations Committee for funding, planning events and the general difficulty of promoting a new club. Even still, Sisto, Berger and Rakow have handled the challenges gracefully and feel that overall the first semester of Project Beauty was a success. They are most pleased with club meeting participation and the feedback they have received thus far from the student body.

“Bringing to light body image issues that are often swept under the rug is hard, but things like being noticed for posters that we have hung up has been very positive,” Berger said.

Project Beauty’s biggest event to date will take place today at 7 p.m. in Love Auditorium. The club, along with the Women’s Studies department, will be hosting Stacy Nadeau from the Dove Real Beauty Campaign. She will be discussing “Embracing Real Beauty,” promoting a change in the idea of what real beauty is by cutting down stereotypes of the ideal woman. Nadeau will touch on issues surrounding positive body image, including, but not limited to, topics such as wellness, relationships, women empowerment and the destructive effects of “fat talk.” Project Beauty will also be participating in the National Eating Disorders Association’s walk on May 3 in Syracuse, N.Y. The club hopes to make these annual events.

Moving forward, Project Beauty seeks to increase attendance at meetings and sponsor more events on campus. The leadership would like to make note that the club is not just for self-identifying females; it is open to any and all that would like to join. Meetings typically occur on Wednesdays or Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. in the Batza Meeting Room (Room 560 in Case Library). Students can find Project Beauty’s blog by going to for healthy food ideas, exercise tips and some motivation.

Contact Madison Paulk at [email protected].