Every day we see images of beautiful, flawless people on TV and in magazines, and wish it were easy to attain that level of fitness, poise and aesthetic appeal. It is hard to be “body positive,” or forgiving and affirming to your body, in a society that sets unattainable body images.
Project Positive is University Recreation’s annual positive body image campaign that celebrates all body types and empowers the Seattle U community to lead healthy lifestyles.
Project Positive strives to disprove this idea and let students know that they are enough and beautiful as they are. Last week was the third annual Project Positive at Seattle University Recreation (UREC), a week of support and positive affirmation.
“I think that body image issues need more attention, and I think that it’s good that this week is shining some light on the issue and addressing the stigmas around body image,” said sophomore Jaelin McCoy. She attended Yoga for EveryBODY, one of the events of the week that created a safe place of positivity and self-love.
“We have worked very hard to set this day up, and we really tried to make it special. It’s our baby,” said Melissa Holzhauser, one of the yoga instructors. “We are really happy with how things have gone, and the event has grown every year.”
Several students who attended the yoga class on Thursday described it as a positive experience. Essential oils and singing oils created a calming aura in the group fitness studio last Thursday.
Other events included in Project Positive week were a kickoff party on Tuesday and a screening of the documentary “America the Beautiful” on Wednesday. The kickoff was in the first floor of the Student Center and included dancing and informational booths. Members of the Health and Wellness Crew (HAWC), UREC, a local eating disorder clinic named Opal Food and Mind, and Rudy the Redhawk himself, were all present at the party.
“The goal of the week is to address the stigma on eating disorders, dismantle stereotypes on being healthy, and open a space for students to discuss body image issues,” said Dana Fuqua of HAWC.
The kickoff event served as a way to promote the week’s events and provide resources to students. It was impossible to miss the people dancing to upbeat music with Rudy the Redhawk upon walking into the Student Center.
Another goal of the week was to encourage more people to come to the Fitness Center and not feel like they have to workout in a certain way or be fit to be accepted. Sidney Pinger from UREC said, “We want all to feel welcomed by UREC. We are promoting body confidence and want people to be able to work out and not feel like they have to have a certain level of fitness to be accepted.”
UREC Project Positive’s slogan: Positive Mind, Positive Vibes, Positive Life.
One of the focuses of the week was to address eating disorders and their prevalence in society.
The film “America the Beautiful” is a documentary that shines a light on eating disorders and beauty standards among American women. It delves into issues such as child modeling, plastic surgery, advertising, celebrity worship and malnutrition.
Opening a discussion on eating disorders is important, as over 10 million people in the United States have reportedly been affected by some sort of eating disorder. It is a topic that is often pushed under the rug because of the hesitance of many to openly discuss such a personal matter.
Project Positive encourages people to think about what they like about their body instead of what they don’t. People filled out slips of paper which read, “I’m beautiful because…”
They were then hung on the wall at the Fitness Center, and the stairway was lined with notes written with statements like “I am fierce,” “I’m alive,” “I am confident,” “I’m me,” “I’m hilarious,” and “I’m worth it.”
The motto of the week was positive mind, positive vibes, positive life. This appeared on stickers and distributed to students. Seattle U was painted purple and radiating with good vibes thanks to Project Positive.
Bailee may be reached at