Throughout this week, the Goshen Student Women’s Association (GSWA) is sponsoring Healthy Bodies Week (HBW): a series of events celebrating physical, emotional, mental and interpersonal health for students on campus.
“On campus, there isn’t always space given for positive body talk and for personal exploration through facilitated discussion or workshops,” says Riley Mills, a third year communications major. Mills is one of the five GSWA leaders involved with planning the events. “HBW is a really cool, unique opportunity for people to get together and learn about others’ views on bodies, whether the focus be gender-identification or how to stay mentally healthy during really stressful times in the semester.”
Each event covers a vast range of subjects and definitions of health. Each year, HBW brings new ideas, while still reviving old favorites like body casting or the HBW dance party at the very end.
Already in full swing, HBW has had many events including last Saturday’s “Yoga and Chill” workshop, Monday’s back-to-back “Presentation on Trauma and Addiction” and “All Gender Sex-Positivity” workshop and Tuesday’s “Body Image and Eating Disorders” event. Wednesday evening there was a “Liberation for Every Body” workshop in Newcomer Center.
But more events are yet to come. Thursday is a “Safe Zone Training” brought to you by PIN in Newcomer. “All Gender Body Casting” will be on Friday night in the Union building, followed by the long awaited dance party on Saturday night. Keep an eye out for HBW posters to stay up to date with the specific location and times of these events.
“We’re sad it’s only one week,” says Noemi Salvador, a senior peace, justice and conflict studies major and GSWA leader. “It’s one moment on campus where people are told that their physical appearance isn’t just what makes them beautiful.”
What makes HBW different this year? Increased inclusivity. In years past, HBW has had intentional gender division by setting aside a few specific HBW events for only women.
“We realized, after people felt excluded during last year’s event, that in order to be more inclusive, we need to be aware of the diversity on campus and send the right message,” says Salvador.
So this year, GSWA decided to do something a little different.
“GSWA felt that it was really important to create spaces where people of all gender identities could come together and feel comfortable talking about some of these topics,” said Mills. GSWA is aspiring for diverse involvement in events, leadership and topics. HBW opened last Wednesday with a convocation on what beauty means for different cultures, including perspectives from African-American, indigenous, covered women, men and white queer people at Goshen.
GSWA has continued to create these open spaces for HBW by being mindful of including non-binary people in their event, focusing on topics that are applicable to many people beyond cis-women and inviting other clubs to combine events.
Clubs like GLITTER, Prevention Initiative Network (PIN) and Art Club have given their time and guidance to plan more diverse events.