Yesterday, Active Minds hosted the first in a series of three informational events from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. across from the Student Resource Building as part of this year’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Active Minds is a student group dedicated to erasing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Organization members tabled, answered questions and handed out informational fliers on eating disorders, anxiety and ways to cope with stress.

Rosetta Dowling, a fourth-year psychology major and co-president of Active Minds, said she hoped the tabling helped students to slowly but gradually begin feeling comfortable with the look of their bodies.

“With this event, we wanted to encourage people to have a positive body image,” Dowling said. “We are trying to get people to like their bodies.”

Healthy snacks including granola and tangerines were sponsored by the Isla Vista Food Co-op and distributed by Co-op representatives in conjunction with passing out informational handouts about healthy diets. According to Lena Veronica Sok, a third-year philosophy major and campus liaison of Active Minds, the Co-op provides students with much-needed variety.

“The Co-op is a great resource for healthy eating,” Sok said.

Today marks the second of this week’s events and features an Active Minds original game, “Don’t Jeopardize Your Health!” at the Santa Rosa Lounge from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Food will again be provided by the I.V. Food Co-op and students will be given the chance to learn about eating disorders, nutrition and self-esteem, according to Dowling.

“[The event] will provide students with ways to love themselves and ways to cope if they have an eating disorder,” Dowling said. “It is geared toward the freshmen.”

The third event is a screening of the HBO documentary “Thin” tomorrow from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in Buchanan 1910. Following the screening, a panel of nutritionists, psychologists, sociologists and students will be set up to answer attendees’ questions about the movie or any related issues.

According to Sok, each of the events seeks to expose eating disorders as both a mental and physical problem.

“An eating disorder is a behavior that a person can’t avoid and that is invasive to their daily living,” Sok said. “It’s really disruptive and prevents them from living their life to the fullest. Eating disorders are special because they affect you not only mentally but also physically.”

Sok said even if students do not feel comfortable attending these events, there will always be ways to contact people or receive help on issues regarding dangerous eating habits or diet concerns.

“There are really good resources that we have on campus,” Sok said. “One is the Women’s Center, which is located in the SRB, and another is Health & Wellness or Counseling Services. Also, there are the Peer Health Interns; students can talk to somebody that they can connect with [at] their own age.”


A version of this article appeared on page 3 of February 27th. 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.