Students learn about body image and eating disorders from JADE

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Pamphlets for the JADE peer education group, that focuses on the awareness and prevention of eating disorders. Photo credit: Nate Graham

Angie Aguilar, the graduate student coordinator for Joint Advocates on Disordered Eating. spoke with students about eating disorders, body image, and diets, at a workshop on Wednesday morning.

This workshop was part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. During the event, Aguilar covered topics such as the impact of social media along with body image.

One theory Aguilar spoke about was called marginality and mattering. Aguilar also shared how to manage to speak about these issues.

“You have to be very mindful about these difficult conversations to have, also being very aware that these conversations can have a negative effect on the individual personally,” Aguilar said. “When I came to this conversation, I had to first say would I be comfortable sharing this or would it be too triggering for myself and also being aware that other people in the room might also not be comfortable.”

The room was a safe place for students to share their experience with body shaming and their struggles with body image.

Aguilar also mentioned a theory created by Dr. Nancy Schlossberg that she had learned from the College Counseling and Student Services master’s program she is currently a part of on campus.

“The theory came from a study about retention rates. A lot of times students drop out because they feel they don’t matter, they are marginalized,” Aguilar said. “That could be in various ways, possibly they had a negative experience in the classroom or feel that they didn’t belong. That kind of down spiraled down and led to depression or other negative thoughts or self-consciousness.“

Aguilar said some ways to make students feel they matter is by offering services for different communities. She mentioned communities such as the Pride Center or the Dream Center that help students through difficult situations.

“Helping make students feel that they matter and are important has a very positive impact on students,” said Aguilar.