Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Stand Against Eating Disturbances

Much of the actual work completed by Students Ending Eating Disturbances is initiated by a frantic e-mail from an RA or friend expressing concern for a suspected suffering Jane Hoya seeking advice. While addressing questions of this nature lies at the center of SEED’s mission, in terms of frequency this question comes in an anything-but-close second.

Instead, variants of “Why do you use the term disturbances instead of disorders?” best captures the average Hoya’s inquiry about our cause. I would love for attention to be concentrated on SEED’s unconventional terminology – for Georgetown to be a place that has a limited need for a group like SEED. Yet the real explanation for the disparity in the questions we receive is quite the opposite; it begins, in fact, to answer why a term such as “disturbance” is so appropriate.

Perhaps statistics first come to mind when one considers the disturbing thoughts associated with disordered patterns of eating: one in five women will develop an eating disorder at some point in life, making eating disorders just five percent less common than sexual assault. What I have found far more disturbing, however, is that our campus will not stand up against this often-fatal tragedy at a rate even mildly proportionate to its frequency.

Events such as RU Ready and Take Back the Night are doubtlessly worthy of high participation rates. Our campus at large was supportive of these efforts – we acknowledged that Georgetown is not a community that will accept sexual abuse toward any of its members.

In the past, campus reactions to SEED events have not matched those given to sexual assault awareness programs. For these programs, some of us have acknowledged that Georgetown is not a community that will allow student groups to use unconventional wording in their names. The attendance at SEED programming is unquestionably disturbing.

Disordered eating, like sexual assault, is often labeled a women’s issue. Despite eating disorders being more frequently recognized as a male threat, trouble emerges when I recall Joe Hoya’s reaction to SEED events. When a member shared at a meeting that she saw guys ripping down our fliers while exclaiming disgust for a group that would promote “girls being fat,” older members comforted us by noting such behavior only is to be expected.

Yes, we would like to end the ever-ongoing line of Jane Hoyas at Leo’s salad bar, the decisions to “just fill up on Diet Coke” and every principle that has contributed to a world where the term “carb-tastic” can be used provoking neither laughter nor unforgettable dirty looks.

We care even more when these behaviors are associated with a fatal illness. It is unfortunate that such a smart group of students can manage to create such a strong stigma over an illness and that SEED must not only try to help those suffering with disturbing symptoms, but to fight those that have taken disturbing actions to block off that help on an indifferent campus.

Wednesday is Georgetown’s first Eating Disturbance Awareness Day. I ask for your support in coming together as a community to declare that Georgetown can neither accept disturbing behavior nor abandon its members as they endure some of life’s greatest disturbances. It is at these times that we must remember what we mean when we refer to ourselves as Hoyas.

Michael Kroop is a junior in the College and a member of SEED.

More to Discover