Students can catch a break and shake off midterm stress at an on-campus Respect Rave on Monday.
Binghamton University’s Eating Awareness Committee (EAC) is throwing its annual Respect Rave to build awareness of body image issues. The event, which will take place in the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center (C4) Multipurpose Room, is meant to bring people together for a night of dancing and entertainment while teaching attendees about ways to respect and appreciate their own bodies.
“Dance is a way of pulling people in and feeling their bodies and respecting what their bodies can do and [understanding] how it feels to be well in the body,” said Sarah Thompson, a lecturer of health and wellness at BU and the chair of the EAC. “Moving our bodies and feeling our bodies and not worrying about what we look like when we move, but rather experiencing the joy it brings, makes us more connected to our bodies.”
EAC is a cross-campus committee composed of faculty representatives from departments and offices including Wellness Services, the University Counseling Center and Campus Recreation, as well as student representatives. The group works to spread awareness about and offer support for issues related to eating disorders, body image, fitness and nutrition.
This is the third annual Respect Rave, and this year, the committee is looking to make an even bigger event. They’ve teamed up with Residential Life and Health Promotion and Prevention Services with the hopes of reaching a broader audience than in previous years.
“We’ve collaborated with [resident assistants] and [residential directors] so that we’re able to bring more students together, not only in the Dickinson and Newing communities, but across all of campus,” Thompson said.
Every year at Respect Rave, the EAC has tried to bring in different dance groups like the BU Dance Team and Hoop Troop. This year, the International Flag Dancers will be there along with Zumba instructors from the East Gym.
“While being healthy, the party is also meant to be interactive and engaging,” Thompson said. “We want people to come in, participate and dance.”
The event will also feature a photo booth and free giveaways like tank tops and glow necklaces, as well as raffles and some healthy treats.
Sarah Strupp-Levitsky, a group fitness instructor at the East Gym and a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, has taught Zumba at the event for the last two years. Strupp-Levitsky said she thinks the Respect Rave provides a great opportunity to promote body positivity, which is one aspect of teaching group fitness classes that she enjoys the most.
“It’s important to counter traditional beauty standards and show that everyone of any skin color, gender, size or shape is beautiful and worthy of love,” she said.
The Respect Rave will be on Monday, March 19 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the C4 Multipurpose Room.