Today: Apr 23, 2024

Vigil held for eating disorder sufferers

Monica Szakacs, News Editor-

Last week, Delta Phi Epsilon hosted an annual Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders Vigil for Eating Disorders Awareness Week, where they presented information on eating disorders and reflected on those who suffer. 

President of Delta Phi Epsilon, Marylou Cirivello, said it is important to bring awareness, because some people might think eating disorders are not that big of a deal.

“They don’t realize that this affects thousands of women around the world,” said Cirivello. “We like to open peoples’ eyes and show them that this is a problem, and probably somebody that you know on campus is affected.” 

Cassandra Weed, vice president of programming, said the event was a success this year, and every year the event grows by audience and feature. Weed, who helped plan the event, said this year they added a slide show and sold bracelets. The majority of the 122 people in the audience were members of other Greek organizations.

“We have great support from our other Greek organizations and it means the world to us, because it’s nice to know they care about the things we care about,” said Cirivello. 

ANAD is one of Delta Phi Epsilon’s philanthropies, according to Weed. She said she wants people to take from the event respect for their bodies and for others to be respectful, non judgmental and except others. 

“Time and time again this event proves that it is a big issue on campus,” said Weed. “I think it’s stuff like this that you would find out from people you would never even expect to have an eating disorder.”

Leanne Bartosiak, coordinator of philanthropy, said it is really important to keep up with what is current today, such as how many students are affected and what can the organization do to help the situation. There was a Youtube video of the 10 myths of eating disorders, and Denise Zack from the counseling center talked about help services and the issue at large. 

Zack said everyone, men and women, are taught at a young age through magazines, ads and television that there is a certain image. If someone doesn’t fit the image an agency has created, said Zack, then “we are taught there is something wrong with us.” 

There are three main types of eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia and binge, although there are others, according to Zack. She said anorexia has the highest death rate of all psychiatric disorders and men suffer from eating disorders as well. 

There were also poetry readings about eating disorders, and an open floor session where people from the audience came up to talk about their experiences. Each speaker was a Delta Phi Epsilon member. 

Nicole Velazquez, sophomore, said as small as her body may seem, she is not small to her mother. She said she developed an eating disorder because of the anxiety her mother created with the pressure of being the perfect petite size. 

“To my mom I’m fat,” said Velazquez. “She would say ‘Nicole you’re gaining weight, why don’t you hit the gym?’ I’m not perfect in her eyes. I try to fulfill the image my mother has.”

When Tanya Burton, a sophomore, came to college, that’s when she said the disorder started. She said people tell her all the time that she is skinny. Even though she is happy about how she looks now, in the back of her mind, Burton said she thinks what if one day she is not as skinny. 

“What if I go back to my high school reunion and everyone is like, ‘what happened to her?’” I feel trapped because I know I’m not fat,” said Burton. 

She said now there is a certain size she has to maintain, and she heard of little tricks to keep the weight off. Burton said she started counting calories and excessively exercising, to the point where she would sometimes lose more calories than she ate. 

Kaitlyn Zajac, a senior, said two months into college her father, who she was very close to, passed away. She said she was an emotional wreck and her body image got worst, because she had anxiety, depression and found herself in unhealthy relationships. 

“It’s a really bad road to go down,” said Zajac. “I’m not going to dwell on the past— I’m just going to look to the future.”

Zajac said people should try to understand the severity of the problem instead of passing judgment. 

“I want to be judged for me,” said Zajac, “because we are all different and that’s really important.” 

1 Comment

  1. Anorexia nervosa (AN), characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, an obsessive fear of gaining weight, and an unrealistic perception of current body weight. However, some patients can suffer from anorexia nervosa unconsciously. These patients are classified under “atypical eating disorders”. Anorexia can cause menstruation to stop, and often leads to bone loss, loss of skin integrity, etc. It greatly stresses the heart, increasing the risk of heart attacks and related heart problems. The risk of death is greatly increased in individuals with this disease.`

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