IMAGES, the University of Richmond's student organization that promotes positive body image, is hosting its fifth-annual Love Your Body Week March 19-23.
"This year's theme is 'We All Know Someone,'" said IMAGES president Caraline Mikkelsen. "The idea behind the theme is that we all know someone who doesn't have a positive self-image."
IMAGES will have a table in the Tyler Haynes Commons throughout the week and plans to sell T-shirts that say "Be You (tiful)" on the front and "We all know someone who doesn't know they're beautiful" on the back.
Love Your Body week will begin with "Mirrorless Monday," Mikkelsen said, and IMAGES members hope to encourage students to think positively about themselves by posting notes around mirrors in the academic-building bathrooms with messages such as, "Smile!"
On "No Numbers Tuesday," the club hopes to remind students that eating healthy is more important than counting the calories in everything you eat, by placing flyers in the Heilman Dining Center, Mikkelsen said.
The final theme days of the week will be "Go Naked Wednesday," and "Get Fit Thursday," she said. On Wednesday, women can sign a pledge to go without makeup and wear the "Be You (tiful)" T-shirts.
On Thursday, Trish Blackwell, American Family Fitness director of the Fredericksburg, Va., location, will be teaching an exercise class in the Weinstein Center and giving a talk afterward. Blackwell battled an eating disorder in high school and is now dedicated to inspiring confidence in others, according to her website, trishblackwell.com.
Although combating eating disorders is one of the goals of IMAGES, it is not its sole mission, said Emily Hagemann, who has been a member for four years.
"Redefining perfection was kind of our theme this year," Hagemann said.
Senior Sarah Fishman said the club had expanded its mission to focus on body image in general.
"A big part of it is the media," she said.
Mikkelsen said, "You don't have to have an eating disorder, or know someone who has an eating disorder."
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On Friday, IMAGES will participate in a cancer-research fundraiser Relay for Life, which will be held in the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness, Mikkelsen said. The group plans to have a hula-hoop competition for other students participating.
Relay for Life is an opportunity to support a cause and make other students participating aware of IMAGES and its mission, she said.
Mikkelsen said the goal of Love Your Body week was to inform other students about IMAGES and to encourage a lifelong commitment to staying healthy and fit while maintaining a positive self-image.
"This is one week out of the year," she said. "We can only help so much. It's up to you to really make that life change."
Contact staff writer Avery Shackelford at firstname.lastname@example.org
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