University of Rochester

National Week Helps People Feel Comfortable in Their Own Skin

February 15, 2007

Focusing on inner beauty and a healthy body image are just a few messages that student groups will share across campus for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

The week, which starts Thursday, Feb. 22, focuses on helping people feel comfortable in their own skin. This year's theme "Be Comfortable in Your Genes" encourages people to remember that genetics plays a role in determining body size and shape.

That's why the week's hallmark event is The Great Jeans Giveaway. From Feb. 22 to March 2, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to donate old or new jeans that do not fit comfortably and to wear jeans that fit their body type. Jeans will be collected in boxes in laundry rooms in the residence halls or at the designated table in Hirst Lounge in Wilson Commons and donated to the Unity Clothes Closet.

Throughout the week, members of various student groups will have a table in Wilson Commons to provide more information about eating disorders and how to help a friend who may have a problem. Starving for Control, a documentary on eating disorders filmed by Stephanie Testa, an alumna of the College Class of 2004, will be shown at the table. Testa received a Susan B. Anthony Institute Undergraduate Student Research Grant to produce the film.

Other events for the week include:

  • The "Day Without Mirrors" on Monday, Feb. 26. Mirrors across River Campus will be covered with positive, self-affirming messages to remind people to focus on inner beauty, not outward appearances.
  • Guest speakers Mary Tantillo and Taillie Tisher from the Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders will talk about the role of genetics in the development of eating disorders and answer questions from the audience. The talk, titled "Be Comfortable in Your Genes," is at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 1, in the Gowen Room in Wilson Commons. The talk is open to the public. Parking is available in University lots.
  • The University Counseling Center will be offering free, confidential eating disorder screenings from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, March 1, on the first floor of Wilson Commons. The screenings include a brief questionnaire and a conversation with a UCC counselor. To complete a screening from the privacy of your own room, visit

The week's events are sponsored by the Panhellenic Association, Phi Sigma Sigma, Delta Gamma, Alpha Phi, Sigma Delta Tau, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Delta, Sigma Lambda Upsilon, Zeta Phi Beta, Freshmen Fellows, Health & Home Special Interest Floor, and the UHS Health Promotion Office and the University Counseling Center.