Fair encourages students to be 'comfortable in their own skin'
UA Body Smart is encouraging students to feel comfortable in their own skin.
The club will host its second annual Body Smart Fair on the UA Mall this Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to promote body image awareness.
The Body Smart Fair is an event where several organizations at the UA and in the surrounding community gather to encourage self-esteem among students. Although the Body Smart Fair is only in its second year, Campus Health Service has been putting on an event for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week for 12 years.
Last year, the fair was called Love Your Body Day and was mostly targeted towards women. This year, the name was changed to Body Smart to be more inclusive to all types of students, said Julie
Sigler, a public health senior and intern at Body Smart.
Sigler said that the main goal of the Body Smart Fair is to raise awareness about body image issues and show available resources to students.
A variety of campus groups will have booths to give presentations relating to Body Smart’s goals. Pride Alliance will be one of the groups tabling during this event, featuring a display board with a collage of pictures of LGBTQ people.
Katie Kilby, a public health senior and co-director of Pride Alliance, said that Pride Alliance’s role in the Body Smart fair is to show aspects of body image like gender expression. Kilby said that Pride Alliance’s involvement at the fair will provide an opportunity for open dialogue between students and experts, as well as information about the support groups offered on campus.
Pride Alliance created a section on its collage board called “This is How I Love My Body,” where students can anonymously share what they do to boost positive self-esteem.
Among the other campus organizations to participate in the fair are UA Active Minds, the UA Nutritional Science Club, F.O.R.C.E., Campus Recreation, the Stressbusters and Cooking on Campus. Laura K. Orlich, a counselor at Counseling and Psych Services, said that participants coordinated to make the events at this fair as interactive as possible.
“We are excited as we can be about it,” Orlich said.
Sigler said that some of the interactive events will include henna art, massages by Stressbusters and a photoshoot by Body Smart.
CAPS will also offer Healthy Body Image screenings to determine whether students have disordered eating habits or self-image problems, Orlich said. This data from the body screening surveys will go into a data bank to show trends over time in regards to body image awareness.
Kilby said that it’s important for the university to provide opportunities like the Body Smart Fair to help create a positive experience and a safe environment for students to discuss body image awareness.
“There is a lot of silence around this issue,” Kilby said. “It is rare to have a forum dedicated to talking about it.”