Over the course of the semester, all research and data collected has focused on examining the close relationship between social media usage and the rise in eating disorders within America. Through my extensive research, social media has proven to have a major impact on adolescents and eating disorders. Because of the increase in the number of eating disorders something needs to occur to help lower these rising numbers. As discovered through researching, awareness is the key to prevention and the start of treatment for some. Therefore, for my make-it-matter project, I chose to do a series of events throughout Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) week.
Throughout the week, my sorority and I set up different events for each day of the week. Over the weekend, we got together as sisters and created a bunch of inspiration post-it notes. Each post-it notes contained a positive statement, a quote, a picture or advice. At night the post-it were placed around campus and inside bathrooms for students to see around campus throughout Monday. These notes were utilized to provide students with a small positive comment to brighten up their day and maybe put a smile on people’s faces, letting everyone know how beautiful they are. Throughout the day, I noticed students making positive comments about the post-its and even taking photos with them and posting these photos online. As a result, the post-its and positive motivation were able to spread not only throughout campus but across social media as well. This goes to show, that social media can also be used as a positive tool for awareness of eating disorders.
On day 2,3 &4, we tabled in Schine Student Center, where we brought awareness to all students walking through Schine and those curious about what ANAD week was about. Here we provided the student population with posters, flyers and ANAD cards that were posted and handed out throughout the day. For each of these three days, an activity was also available for students to participate in. Day 2, we had students trash their insecurities. On this day students were told to write something they hated about themselves on an index card. Students were then told to through that card away in the trash. The goal of this event was to lift some weight off their should and let students know that these insecurities shouldn’t let them down, students should love themselves for who they are. On Day 3, students were asked to do the opposite. They had to write something they loved about themselves and them post-it on the walk in Schine. This event reminded student about positive things about themselves and let the feel proud of whom they are. For the final day of tabling, day 4 was no make-up day. On this day all girls in Delta Phi Epsilon and myself walked around campus with no make-up on. At our table inside Schine along with out flyers and cards, we also had make-up wipes. We asked anyone who came up to our table if they were willing to take off their make-up in honor of ANAD week. This event was designed to let student know that they are beautiful even without any make-up; you don’t need make-up to feel pretty.
The ANAD Candlelight Vigil is an inspiring night to commemorate those who have lost their lives and celebrated those who have recovered. The vigil was held on Friday, the last day of ANAD week. It was held in Hendricks Chapel and all were welcome to attend. At the vigil, a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon spoke about her experience and on going battle with Bulimia. Her inspirational story provided the audience with the truth and what it is like to have an eating disorder. It most importantly expressed the real thoughts that go through he mind of someone suffering with Bulimia. The sister expressed deeply how her disorder was not a lifestyle choice,but that she has actual voices inside her head telling her that she must loss weight, she must throw up her food to become skinny. She said in al honesty that she had absolutely no control over her actions. Eating disorders are not something that can just disappear over night but need extensive therapy and support to fight and overcome.
Overall, these three days of tabling went well. Many students across campus became aware of eating disorders that affect those around them and took part in activities that helped benefit themselves as well. Students were engaged and helpful in spreading the awareness without realizing it; whether it was by word of mouth or an Instagram or Facebook post or tweet. Since we were able to reach out to the student body as planned, it was successful week overall. There were a few set back and some minor implications. On day 4, not many people were willing to remove make-up. This issue is solely because no girl wants remove their make-up once they have applied it. Therefore, for future references I hope to improve this day in following years by making it more aware prior to the day. If girls are aware in advanced, they will know not to apply any make-up at all for the day, avoiding the need to have to remove it for awareness.
Also, the prime audience was Female students of Syracuse University. Eating disorders affect both males and females, but the male audience is more difficult to reach out to. Since I am a girl, I do not have access and neither does any girl in my sorority to boy’s bathrooms, therefore we were unable to place post-it notes in there. Males were also less likely to approach our table because of stereotype issue, where many thing eating disorders are only for girls therefore guys don’t want to be judged for going over to the table and asking questions. For the vigil we had support of both males and females, as friends came to support friends.
Lastly, a major implication for this event was the weather. Because ANAD week is in February, it is extremely cold outside. I believe that if the weather was nicer, the event could have been move to the quad and even spread around campus, proving access to a greater amount of the student body. We also would have been able to pass out flyers to people and going up and approaching student, rather than just being forced to sit behind a table hoping for student to walk up to us. Therefore, in the next years to come, I will take these considerations to though and help plan a more organized and strategic week for ANAD awareness.