Eating Disorder Coalition helps students

Samantha Wright

One in four college-aged women binge and purge to manage their weight, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. A group on campus is looking to combat those statistics. 

The Eating Disorder Support and Awareness Coalition recently hosted a bake sale in the lobby of Downing Student Union. The group began meeting in October of last year, but became official this past January. They currently have 12 members and are growing steadily.

Rachel Bravenec, founder of the coalition and a freshman from Brandon, Mississippi, said forming the group wasn’t their end goal, but simply the result of shared experiences.

“All of our members have either suffered from an eating disorder themselves or have watched someone close to them suffer at the hands of an eating disorder,” she said. “In fact, many of us know multiple people with eating disorders… [We] realized that we shared a severe problem and decided to do something about it.” 

The bake sale raised around $300. Members decided to use a bake sale as a means of raising money because they appeal to students, don’t cost much and help promote the importance of providing your body with food in the form of a delicious treat. People could also donate without having to buy any of the food.

Emma Collins, a freshman from Louisville and a member of the group, expressed her thankfulness for the coalition.

“The fact that WKU has a group like this is great because it will allow students who have been affected by eating disorders, either because they have had one or they know someone who has had one, to find support,” she said via email. “Many people with eating disorders go untreated because of shame or fear, and this group will hopefully allow struggling students to begin to seek treatment in the hope of recovering. Many times people think that recovery isn’t possible, but it is, and that’s the message that the EDSA wants to spread.”

The group has a benefit concert planned for the fall, and local supporters hope to hold a benefit walk in the spring of next year. EDSA will have informational tables set up throughout the year to help raise awareness about eating disorders and the events they’re holding to help.

Michael Schrader, a sophomore from Bowling Green and co-founder of the coalition, said a group like this is valuable.

“This is, in my opinion, an incredibly important issue, which is often overlooked or marginalized,” he said in an email. “I think it helps quite a bit to spread awareness and dispel rumors as well as do what we can to facilitate treatment and make options available/clear.”