Delta Phi Epsilon Hosts Annual Vigil

Delta Phi Epsilon Hosts Annual Vigil

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.–Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority hosted its annual National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders Vigil for eating disorder awareness on Wednesday, October 21, in Wilson Auditorium.
Wilson Auditorium was nearly filled to capacity at the vigil. The room approached full capacity with such a large crowd—some latecomers were even turned away. However, this did not get in the way of the event, whose proceeds will go completely to ANAD.
“I think the event went very well, even though we were given limited space to hold the event,” said Tiffany Hill, a junior belonging to DPhiE. “I believe it was 50% mandatory for all of Greek life, so it was kind of hard to fit everyone in Wilson, plus the audience that went in general.”
But the event attendees did not seem to hold the same concern. Christina Bropson, a junior and Alpha Xi Delta member, said that the event didn’t need to change a thing. She thought the five experienced speakers who shared their insights  throughout the night covered the topics that students needed to hear.
Jessica Lavitol, a junior of AXiD who at one time struggled with an eating disorder, was one of the five speakers at the event. Despite debating whether or not to share her story, she finally decided she was ready.
“It has been an experience,” said Lavitol. “I used to not be proud of it, but now I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I did this so I could hopefully let others know that they’re not alone.”
Margaret Dowe, a graduate assistant who studies mental health counseling and works at an inpatient behavioral health unit, also spoke about her experiences. Her work has exposed her to people who suffer with eating disorders and the other problems, including depression and anxiety, that come with it.
“I feel that most people who have an eating disorder result from self-esteem issues, wanting control, or [they] are lonely…[W]hat they hear and see in society and in the media may influence their perception of body image,” said Dowe. “I feel more and more young girls struggle with this each year due to the pressures from society, the media, family, friends, and the stresses from life.”
Jessica Porter, a junior belonging to Phi Sigma Sigma believes that many people are uneducated about eating disorders. Luckily, in her eyes, the speakers changed that. Porter later added that she enjoyed the event mostly because it taught her more about the people around her.
“You learn things about people that you never knew before,” said Porter. “Even though you have class with them or you see them around campus. It’s nice to learn something about someone that they’re willing to open up to you about.”
But is it important for those suffering to open up about it? According to Disabilities Specialist Erin Behn, it is. Behn relates that in every case, an early diagnosis and treatment of victims who open up leads to a more favorable prognosis for them. If left untreated, she says that this psychological disorder can become a life-threatening issue.
Interestingly, according to Behn, some students may not open up because they do not know they are suffering from a disorder.
“Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, however it becomes quite prevalent among college age students,” said Behn. “It’s not uncommon for students to be unaware that they have an eating disorder. While some may feel they are trying to maintain their weight or lose a few pounds, they may be unaware of the extremes that they are going to in order to obtain that goal.”
Despite this fact, the vigil seems to be helping to combat that unawareness for Greek life members inside and out of DPhiE. Sophomore DPhiE member Alexa Paras and sophomore Alpha Omicron Pi Nicole Ingraffia, for example, both expressed how much they learned at the informative event–that is, everything from stereotypes and the differences between anorexia and bulimia, to statistics and the indiscriminate nature of eating disorders.
Amanda Longombardi, who is in charge of organizing awareness and fundraising events like the vigil as DPhiE’s philanthropy chair, considered the event a huge success. For next year, however, she hopes to move to a bigger venue to better accommodate the large number of attendees.

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