SMC to launch health campaign
April Thomas | Thursday, February 10, 2005
Saint Mary’s Counseling and Career Development Center (CCDC) will be challenging unhealthy body image expectations and encouraging fitness and health through the three-week “Get Real! Celebrate S.H.A.P.E.” campaign. The campus community will be encouraged to focus on true health – particularly strength, confidence and nutritional wellbeing – from Feb. 1 to March 4. “Women’s S.H.A.P.E. refers to who we are on the inside,” CCDC counselor Kris Pendley said. “Who we are is not the bodies we are housed in, but our spiritual gifts, our heart and passions, our abilities, our personality and our experiences.”While Saint Mary’s participation in “Get Real” is inspired by the “Awareness Week” established in 1987 by the National Eating Disorders Association, CCDC director Mary DePauw said the Center’s body image sector is actively involved in promoting awareness about eating issues. “We have done eating disorders education for at least 25 years,” DePauw said.The increased visibility of body image issues during “Get Real” reminds students that information, a listening ear and help are readily available – both now and throughout the school year.”We have a number of students come in and talk about their struggles,” DePauw said.Depauw said consultation and discussion is her favorite part of the program.”Our larger culture tends to be unrealistic about women’s body shapes and styles. It’s easy to lose perspective on what’s healthy and what’s not,” DePauw said. “I always appreciate the opportunity to talk one-on-one with students with any kind of concerns.”To ensure visibility, residence hall directors were encouraged to promote “Get Real” with dorm resident advisors.”It’s a good way for students to get the information right in their homes,” said Nicole Clery, Holy Cross hall director. “Many RA’s are taking a ‘love your body, healthy-living’ approach.””Get Real’s” informational pervasiveness intends to surround students with factual information and positive messages about body image and health, reaching them in everyday environments, like the dining hall, gym and residences.”The ‘Get Real’ material is aimed at sharing the facts about eating disorders as a means to educate the public,” Pendley said. “We want students to have real and accurate information about what is normal for women because we generally do not see normal women in advertising.”Supporters of the program hope Saint Mary’s students will take to heart the message of “Get Real.””When people meet us, they are impressed by our intellect, our compassion, our ability to love and to be loved – not by the size of our jeans,” Pendley said.Information about “Get Real” will be spread by e-mail to all College students and posted on signs in Angela Athletic Facility and in residence hall bathrooms’ “Stall News.” CCDC plans to show the movies “Slim Hopes” and “Perfect Illusions” in Le Mans Hall, endorse “Mirrorless Mondays,” pass out food fact sheets in the Noble Family Dining Hall, hold an informal health chat at Dalloways and provide free and confidential food and body image screenings March 3-4.