By Tom Ballard
Love my body, love your body, love every body: that was the message that the sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon (DPhiE) had for their fourth annual Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disease (ANAD) Week. Last week from Sunday, Nov. 1, to Friday, Nov. 6, DPhiE hosted a slew of events with the underlying purpose of promoting the acceptance of beauty.
According to Vickie Zourzoukis, president of DPhiE and a senior elementary education and psychology double major, at the time this article was written, the sorority raised an estimated $700 for ANAD awareness throughout the week in events that ranged from a bake sale to a volleyball tournament.
“I think that having diverse events is important because it parallels the diversity of issues that are involved in ANAD,” said Kimberly Siehl, one of the sorority’s co-ANAD chairs and a junior clinical psychology and Spanish double major. “We had events that fostered self-confidence and also created healthy outlooks on such a prominent issue.”
On Sunday, Nov. 1, DPhiE kicked off the week by handing out free cupcakes at Eickhoff Hall in order to raise awareness and promote the week’s events.
The following day the sorority hosted “Trash Your Insecurities” in which students were able to write their insecurities on a piece of paper, crumble it up and throw it away in a trash can, symbolizing getting rid of insecurities in order to live a better life. Later that day, DPhiE also hosted “Healthy Eating on Campus” in which students were given the opportunity to learn how to eat healthy from a dietician.
“(This presentation featured) tips on eating specifically at TCNJ,” Zourzoukis said. “That was chosen as a way to help educate students on how they can eat well here without having to resort to a diet.”
DPhiE hosted a bake sale titled the “Treat Yourself Bake Sale” at Alumni Grove on Tuesday, Nov. 3, to fundraise for the event.
“We decided to do Treat Yourself Tuesday to show that there is no good or bad food,” said Nikki Felice, a sister in DPhiE and a junior math-secondary education major. Felice noted that certain foods should be enjoyed in moderation and that there should be no shame if a person wants to treat themselves every once and awhile.
On Wednesday, Nov. 4, during the evening on the steps of Green Hall, the sorority hosted a candlelight vigil. Playing songs such as Kellie Pickler’s “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” sisters of the sorority made personal speeches and told anecdotes. Candles with different phrases on them to define what the word “beauty” means to people were also lit.
“(We want) to remind students on campus that it is OK to ask for help,” Zourzoukis said. “I think that this is a beneficial reminder for students, especially in a society now filled with strong ideas of superficial beauty.”
Earlier that day, DPhiE hosted a volleyball tournament in the Recreation Center in order to raise funds while supporting friendly competition.
The sisters of DPhiE were pied in the face on Thursday, Nov. 5, during their “Pie a Deepher” event in which sisters of the sorority had a pie of Cool Whip thrown at their face in order to raise money for their philanthropy.
“It was a fun and silly way to get people talking about ANAD and it helped us raise the most money of any event this week,” Siehl said, “Also, having a face full of Cool Whip was pretty cool, no pun intended.”
Friends of the sisters got a chance to pie them, which at the same time, got a lot of people involved to help raise money.
“The campus was very involved in the event,” said Samantha Hagel, one of the co-ANAD chairs and a junior elementary education and STEM math specialization double major, “Who wouldn’t want to throw a pie in someone’s face to help support their philanthropy?”
On Friday, Nov. 6, the sisters closed out ANAD week with a fitness class in the Decker Hall Lounge in order to remind students that exercise is a healthy and fun way to lose weight.
“Even though ANAD week is over, the mentality surrounding the way we look at eating disorders and body image should prevail,” Siehl said, “I want (the College) to know even a change in attitude or a small donation can go a very long way. Even by sporting a purple ribbon or telling someone they’re beautiful can save a life. I want everyone to know that this philanthropy lives on through positivity.”
The sorority believes that the week was a success in bringing both DPhiE and the campus together.
“While we all have very busy schedules, ANAD week is something that is able to bring sisters together,” Zourzoukis said. “It is a way to raise awareness and money, but also a way for sisters to catch up and enjoy spending time together.”
According to a report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the average number of hospitalizations due to eating disorders has gone up by approximately 24 percent from 1999 to 2008. Even though a large majority of these cases are women, the report also noted that the increase of hospitalizations for men from 1999 to 2008 has increased by roughly 53 percent, compared to a 21 percent increase in women. People under the age of 30 made up half of the people hospitalized for eating disorders in 2008 according to the report.
“(ANAD week) helped others get involved and feel included in such a worthy cause,” Siehl said. “By exposing the issues that surround negative body image and eating disorders, it made everybody’s vulnerability much more tangible.”
The first events for DPhiE’s ANAD week at the College began in 2012 when the sorority decided to turn their candlelight vigil and “Pie a Deepher” events into a week-long awareness campaign.
DPhiE supports two other philanthropies besides ANAD, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Delta Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, which assists in providing scholarships for higher education, according to Zourzoukis.
The Beta Xi chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon at the College was founded in March of 1993 and currently boasts 89 members.
“(People) should know that everyone is beautiful and if anyone else needs help, they should not be afraid to ask,” Hagel said.