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Embody Carolina envisions a healthier, happier UNC campus

Embody Carolina, Carolina Dining Services, Campus Recreation and various student groups on UNC’s campus are trying to teach students what they don’t know about eating disorders.

The annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs Feb. 23 to March 1, and the theme for this year is “I Had No Idea.” UNC’s campus marked the start of the week with activities in the Pit and a show of body acceptance in the Student Recreation Center.

All of the studio mirrors in the SRC were covered during the day to encourage exercising students not to obsess over their body images.

Recent UNC graduate Colleen Daly, a co-founder of Embody Carolina and intern at Campus Recreation, said Mirrorless Mondays help people recognize what’s most important during their workouts.

“What we do in a fitness class is about supporting our bodies and how they feel, rather than what they look like,” Daly said.

Daly said she appreciates the theme of “I Had No Idea” and finds it relevant to struggles with eating disorders going on at UNC.

“Students overwhelmingly know someone who is struggling with an eating disorder but they don’t know that that person is struggling or don’t know how to help them,” Daly said. “I hope it brings awareness to students about the prevalence and the destructive nature of eating disorders.”

Representatives from Embody and Campus Rec who worked in the Pit Monday shared this sentiment.

“I feel great about (the week),” said Embody member and co-founder Savannah King. “It’s something this campus really needs. We want awareness, and to get people the support they need.”

Senior Danielle Jansen, a Campus Rec assistant, said collaborations between organizations on campus have created an open environment for talking about eating disorders.

“We’re pretty happy to be a part of this week and spread awareness,” Jansen said. “Last year was a huge success, and we’ve expanded on it. We had lots of positive feedback last year.”

The tables in the Pit offered students trail mix and other healthy food options provided by CDS. There was also a frame that students could take pictures with to participate in a Facebook and hashtag campaign for #UNCBodyBeautiful.

Active Minds, a student group that advocates for mental health issues, also had a table set up in the Pit to participate in the awareness week. Its table included posters that students could take pictures with, as well as a mirror display board that participants could use to write messages.

Jansen said that she herself sees this week as a learning experience.

“I haven’t had a lot of experience with eating disorders, but I hope it’s a myth-buster for preconceived notions of eating disorders, and that it ultimately helps someone with an eating disorder.”

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