Hamilton Recognizes National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Perry Ryan '12 and Galia Slayen '13 with Slayen's life-size Barbie doll
Perry Ryan '12 and Galia Slayen '13 with Slayen's life-size Barbie doll

Hamilton College will participate in the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW) from Feb. 21 through Feb. 25. The NEDAW was created to “prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment.” Events will take place around campus all week and are free and open to the public.

A committee of students, headed by Galia Slayen ’13 and Perry Ryan ’12 provided the impetus for Hamilton’s participation in the national awareness week. Several members of the committee are in various stages of recovery from eating disorders which include bulimia, anorexia and binge eating. Ryan noted that the week’s activities are aimed at “trying to erase a taboo topic. People shouldn’t be ashamed of it.”

Slayen said recovering from eating disorders “has everything to do with control.” The way to fix it, she explained, “is not to say ‘eat more.’” Slayen and Ryan recently spoke at a Hamilton Student Assembly meeting and were impressed by the support they got. Slayen said numerous student organizations volunteered to participate in the awareness week.

Jan Fisher, senior counselor in Hamilton’s Counseling and Psychological Services, said “EDAW is an important way to raise awareness about eating disorders. There will be many events offered, information disseminated, and visual representations of the issues that contribute to eating disorders. There is a lot of misinformation and stigmas attached to eating disorders,” Fisher said, “and it is important to educate ourselves about the realities. College age students are especially vulnerable to these disorders so educating and raising awareness on college campuses is essential.”

Among highlights of the week will be a display in Kirner-Johnson of a life-size Barbie doll whose exaggerated body measurements promote an unrealistic idea of body image for young women. Slayen built the mannequin when she was in high school. “I had just gone through recovery for an eating disorder and the project was for a class where we had to create something that reflected an issue we cared about,” she explained.

Another highly anticipated event is the showing of the documentary film America the Beautiful. Ryan was chiefly responsible for bringing the film screening to Hamilton last year where it palyed to a packed house, so she felt another showing would be a fitting activity for awareness week.


Highlights of the week will include:

On Talk-About-It Tuesday, Feb. 22,  the Diversity Social Justice Project will host a coffee hour/discussion  at 4 p.m. in the Sadove Sun Porch. America the Beautiful will be screened at 7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion in the Bradford Auditorium, KJ Building. The film about self-image and America’s obsession with beauty is directed by Darryl Roberts.

Worry-less Wednesday, Feb. 23, will feature a talk “Don’t Worry, Eat Happy” by Hamilton nutritionist Alex Kershaw at 5 p.m. in the Sadove Sun Porch.

On Think-About-It Thursday, Feb. 24, Jenni Schaefer, author of Life with Ed, will discuss eating disorders at 5 p.m. in the Fillius Events Barn.

The week will conclude with Fearless Friday, Feb. 25. Students and community members will have the opportunity to discuss their experiences with body image and disorders. A NEDAW Late Nite event will feature a lip-syncing competition sponsored by ISC (Greek Life) in which student groups will compete by using songs based on positive self image/expression.

Hamilton’s NEDAW is sponsored by the Office of the President, Dean of Students Office, Kirkland Endowment, Student Activities Office, Womyn’s Center, The Ryan Family, and the Athletic/Fitness Center in conjunction with the Psychology Department, Women’s Studies Department, DSJP, Physical Plant, the Counseling Center, COOP, ISC, and the Christian Fellowship.


Local news coverage of Hamilton's NEDAW:

NBC affiliate WKTV

Time-Warner Cable Your News Now (YNN)

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