LUU BEAT society held various events across campus to raise awareness of eating disorders and the support available for those suffering as part of Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
LUU BEAT society started the events with a stall in the LUU foyer on Thursday, handing out free tea and coffee and discussing some of the key elements of BEAT and eating disorders. The volunteers thoroughly enjoyed speaking to students and some staff about the ways BEAT charity works to help people with eating disorders and to provide information and support to both sufferers and carers. Some volunteers were shocked at how little people knew about eating disorders and they loved providing information to help educate and raise awareness of the types of eating disorders which many people suffer with at university and throughout the UK.
On the Friday of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, 4 girls from BEAT society stood at the stall in the union foyer in their sports bras and shorts. This was an exciting, empowering and scary moment for the girls, some of whom have overcome the challenge of eating disorders themselves. The girls asked members of the society and other students to write body positive messages on their bodies to celebrate all body types and to raise awareness of some of the issues associated with eating disorders. They also took over LUU instagram to show off their confidence and body positivity. This was a bold and controversial step taken by the girls but they were overwhelmed with the support and publicity they received, ultimately achieving their aim to raise awareness of eating disorders and the amazing work of BEAT charity.
As well as their stall, the society members worked hard alongside other societies during eating disorders awareness week. The society took part in various ‘sock it’ to eating disorders campaigns. They worked with cheer leading, ballet, vertical fitness, rugby league and American football societies to help raise money and awareness of eating disorders and BEAT.
With the society being brand new this academic year, the members and committee have done an amazing job at supporting BEAT. They have raised over £340 this semester so far and they plan to expand their memberships, collaborations and involvement in upcoming events throughout university.
LUU BEAT society have lots of plans for the rest of the semester. They are currently working on collaborations with gymnastics, trampolining and vertical fitness society in their ‘love your leotard’ campaigns which will be celebrating body positivity. They are also currently undergoing various meetings with staff and academics at the University of Leeds to raise awareness of sensitive content in modules, this is particularly prevalent in modules in psychology and biology where topics such as BMI and calories are discussed. Moreover, they are hoping to undergo meetings with academic staff from the medical school as medical students only receive 4 hours of education on eating disorders which is not sufficient considering the increasing numbers of those suffering with eating disorders throughout the UK.
LUU BEAT society are also working hard to grow their membership. Membership is completely free and there is absolutely no pressure to show extreme commitment. Even if you just volunteer at one of their events for an hour this semester, you are still contributing to their aim to raise money for BEAT and awareness of eating disorders. Moreover, the society also aims to be more inclusive and hopes to see some male volunteers soon as eating disorders are common in both men and women in the UK.
The society are also currently looking for new committee members to continue their great work next year and they hope to hold an AGM. They want to emphasise that the society is a no pressure environment. Some members have suffered with eating disorders themselves and the committee members are very aware of the struggles of balancing university work and life so this is a great society to get involved in if you just want a new way of making friends and growing your volunteering skills without too much time and stress! The society has worked so hard to grow this year and they hope to continue to develop through new members and a new committee.
LUU BEAT society want to emphasise that this society is not all about discussing eating disorders, it is about raising money for BEAT, making life long friends, raising awareness of eating disorders and informing students about the help available for those suffering at university. The society aims to hold some more socials next year too!
If you would like to get involved in volunteering, apply for a committee role or learn more about eating disorders and some of the amazing support available in Leeds then head over to the LUU BEAT society members facebook page where you can find more information about the meetings, events and support available.
The society have done some amazing things during Eating Disorders Awareness Week and I am sure that they will continue to grow and develop with the help of more students at the University of Leeds!