There is a new organization on campus, and you have to know about it. BIEDA is a group founded by two Loyola students who want to help bring awareness to a problem that a large number of students face: body image issues. This week we got the opportunity to sit down with the President Alex Kramer and Vice President Anna Pristach of BEIDA. This new and upcoming club at Loyola is already having a huge impact on not only the Loyola community, but Universities across the country as well.
CHICago Style: What is BIEDA?
Alex: BIEDA stands for Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness. This organization is meant to spread awareness and educate the Loyola community, and the rest of society, on the severity of eating disorders. Eating disorders aren’t talked about very often, seeing as people really don’t know much about them or they’re scared to talk about them. BIEDA is also meant to show how important it is to love yourself physically and mentally as well as raising money in order to help people receive professional, medical help to people who are unable to afford it.
CS: What inspired you to start this organization?
Alex: I have struggled from an eating disorder since the 8th grade and started to finally talk about it and get help my senior year of high school. Even though the disorder isn’t active anymore it is something I think about every day. It is a disease that over half of college students struggle with, men and women, and I was tired of seeing myself, my friends, and others struggle, so one day I brought up the idea to Anna and we decided it was time to do something.
Anna: I am a huge promoter of positive body image. College organizations/clubs/groups concerning body image and eating disorders are so few in number that it’s no wonder why people are so uneducated and uncomfortable with the subject. Sure there are awareness weeks on college campuses, but a disease that is so prevalent and affects so many individuals deserves so much more than just a week. That is one of the main reasons starting BIEDA was so important to us.
CS: Why do you think this is an important topic?
Anna: Body image and eating disorders are both such important topics because everyone encounters them at some point in their lifetime, yet it is rarely talked about. Especially for college students, body image and the way we view and compare ourselves to others is unavoidable. Even though everyone deals with body image differently (i.e. extremely negative body image may lead to eating disorders), people can undoubtedly relate to the feeling of critiquing yourself or thinking “if I just had Carrie Underwood’s legs” or “can’t I just have abs like Zac Efron.” BIEDA’s entire mission is focused on turning these thoughts around and showing people how good it feels to love your body and be comfortable in your own skin.
CS: How do you think BIEDA can affect the community?
Alex: I think BIEDA can affect the community in a number of ways. We started this organization only a few months ago and already have students from other colleges reaching out to us saying they think this organization is awesome and that they want it to start at their school, even though it has all just begun. We have only had 3 meetings and one event on campus and have already attracted a hundred or so students. People want to get involved. BIEDA will not only affect our community, it will hopefully eventually affect all of society across the country. The best and most effective thing the Loyola community and BIEDA can do to reach success together is to continue promoting awareness of positive body image and raising awareness on the topic of eating disorders!
CS: What is your goal for BIEDA?
Alex: My biggest hope and goal is that BIEDA will help those struggling to go out and seek help. Whether it be attending club meetings, opening up to a friend, seeking help at a treatment center, or seeking help through a family member. Whether you have an eating disorder, have a loved one who has an eating disorder, or you don’t have one and just struggle to be happy physically and mentally with yourself, I want BIEDA to be the beginning of something for everyone. It’s hard to go through things alone and I think BIEDA can help put an end to that.
Anna: I really hope that BIEDA will be an organization that continues to grow and reach new heights throughout its lifetime at Loyola. Whether it be partnering with larger, eating disorder-focused nonprofits like Nationals Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) or just increasing the number of individuals it is able to reach and positively influence, I hope BIEDA and its members will always strive to make the most out of what the organization has to offer.
CS: How can people become a part BIEDA?
Alex: Come to our meetings! Our meetings are currently Tuesdays at 7:30pm, room 324 of Cuneo Hall. They are every other week and start January 26th.
Anna: Feel free to email the BIEDA email as well at firstname.lastname@example.org ! Just say you’re interested in joining and we will add you to the Facebook group so you can stay up to date with announcements/event information.
Go check BIEDA out on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BIEDALUC/?pnref=story
Also ask to join their Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/559247070893881/?pnref=story
Make sure to get involved with BIEDA by contacting email@example.com to be a part of this great organization! Want more CHICago Style? Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date!