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Students, Staff Plan Body Appreciation Week

Students, Staff Plan Body Appreciation Week


Intending to bring to light a greater awareness of the value and needs of their own bodies, students and staff at SUNY Cortland have embraced the theme of “The Art of You” with this year’s weeklong Body Appreciation Week series.

Events during the 15th annual series, from Sunday, Feb. 25, through Friday, March 1, are free and open to the public, unless noted otherwise. Activities will take place in the Corey Union Function Room.

Body Appreciation Week takes place in conjunction with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA).

Billie Jean Goff, associate director of the College’s Counseling and Student Development Center, explains that Body Appreciation Week helps students and others practice de-focusing on body image, weight, shape and size.

Jenni Schaefer

Jenni Schaefer

Keynote Speaker

“Part of the whole ‘The Art of You’ message is appreciating the traits and qualities of an individual,” she said. “What is it about a person that makes them special? Not, ‘Who is this body?’”

Throughout the week, exhibits will be on display in the Function Room from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25 through Thursday, Feb. 28. The exhibition encourages everyone to take pride in their uniqueness and welcomes students from all interests to contribute various forms of artwork that express themselves as an individual.

 Students representing clubs and organizations with an interest in a healthy body image and self-awareness will contribute to the exhibit and staff an information table as volunteer health advocates. Related literature also is available at any time through the Health Promotion Office.

Jessica Dashnaw, a SUNY Cortland senior who serves as a campus health intern along with Megan Wise, suggests that Body Appreciation Week is about indentifying with one’s own self.

 “It’s important for students to walk around to look at all of the different student clubs and organizations that will be at the exhibit,” Dashnaw said. “For example, if someone is confused about their sexuality, Spectrum, the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, will be there for more information. They can be welcomed into the right club and it will help them be comfortable with themselves.”

A performance by the SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir will kick off Body Appreciation Week at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24. Admission will be $5.

Louise Mahar, the College’s assistant director for sports and recreation, will lead an “Intro to Yoga” class at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25.

A special “Coffeehouse” with performances from Cortland’s Kickline, Africana Dance and A Capella, followed by an Open Mic Night will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Colleen Zimmerman will conduct a Zumba dance exercise class from 6:15 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28.

Author, national speaker and singer/songwriter Jenni Schaefer will deliver the keynote speech for Body Appreciation Week at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Schaefer, who is recovered from an eating disorder, will present “Perfectly Imperfect: Eating and Body Image.” Her talk encompasses finding balance with food and exercise as well as overcoming perfectionism in order to achieve a happy, fulfilled-perfectly imperfect-life.

Schaefer’s program, which continues the College’s semester-long Wellness Wednesday series of programs, will feature a candlelight vigil with Delta Phi Epsilon. Schaefer’s books about her own battle with an eating disorder will be available for purchase and signing following the program. For more information, visit Schaefer’s website at

The “wear-jeans-to-work day” fundraiser continues this year with College faculty and staff encouraged by organizers to pay $1 a day during the week. This year’s proceeds will help Superstorm Sandy victims.

Body Appreciation Week is a collaborative effort with SUNY Cortland’s Counseling and Student Development Center, Auxiliary Services Corporation, President’s Office, Vice President for Student Affairs Office, Residence Life and Housing, Campus Artists and Lecture Series, Health Promotion Office, Student Health Service, Delta Phi Epsilon, Alpha Phi Omega, Eta Sigma Gamma, Campus Activities and Corey Union, Auxiliary Services Corporation Nutrition Services, Student Activities Board, and Recreational Sports.

For more information, contact the Counseling Center at 607-753-4728 or Health Promotions Office at 607-753-2066.