It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, also known as NEDAW, and it will be full of events, speakers, and discussion groups. This year, NEDAW has been organized by Erin Ginsburg ’15, with Tim Jurney ’15, Kindra Fontes-May ’14, Nicole Keller from the Counseling Center, and a number of other student volunteers and organizations. I took a moment to sit down with Erin and talk to her about NEDAW and some of its events. Read her responses below.
What are some of the goals of NEDAW?
Hopefully NEDAW will make the community realize how pervasive body image issues, disordered eating, and eating disorders themselves are both on campus and throughout the country. The Gund Gallery showed Lauren Greenfield’s “Thin” exhibit this fall, and while it definitely had an impact on those who saw it and/or the movie, it was a very specific representation of eating disorders. We (the Counseling Center staff, Peer Counselors, and all of the student volunteers) wanted the week’s events to be a broader, larger discussion of these issues. The week is meant to demonstrate that these habits and disorders are not about the food, that they exist on a large spectrum, and that more people than you know battle with these mentalities and habits.We don’t want anyone to suffer silently or feel that they are alone, and we also want to teach others how to help anyone they know and love who suffers this way.
Who is the target audience of NEDAW?
There really isn’t a target audience — the purpose of the week is awareness and dialogue, and we need the whole community to accomplish this. Of course, we definitely encourage those who need or want the support to come to the events, but ideally we want to reach the entire campus.
What are some of the key events going on this week?
Tomorrow (Monday the 25th) there is a panel and discussion in Weaver Cottage from 6pm to 8pm. It will be run like the dessert and discussions, and Nikki Keller from the Counseling Center as well as student volunteers will be the facilitators.
Then Wednesday the 27th we have our keynote speaker, Jessica Setnick, presenting her talk “You Are WHY You Eat” in Rosse Hall at 8pm (doors open at 7:30). Jessica is a phenomenal woman and a nationally recognized nutritionist/speaker. She will address eating disorders from a different perspective than people normally view them. That’s our biggest event. She’ll also be hosting a more intimate discussion during Common Hour the next day (Thursday the 28th) in Peirce Lounge.
How did you hear about Jessica Setnick?
The reason I suggested getting Jessica to come, actually, is because I went to her throughout my junior and senior years of high school. She taught me so much, but one of the main things I learned is that none of this is a weakness. A lot of people don’t realize that these habits, disorders, and mindsets involve a constant war with and against yourself. So it’s really a sign of strength to make it through each day and (eventually) commit to recovery…I still struggle to believe this, but I want to, and I hope others do, too. That’s why this week is so important to me, and why I became one of the main people behind it this year.
How will this year’s NEDAW be different than last years?
This year, the responsibility has not been solely on a handful of counselors and Nikki herself. It’s become a huge group effort instead, which means that we have had different ideas, improvements made, and new speakers chosen.