Two student organizations at Michigan State University are striving to promote body positivity on campus.
Kaitlyn Pscodna, vice president of media for MSU CHAARG, said CHAARG is a growing women’s health and wellness group on campus that promotes a happy and healthy lifestyle for college-aged women.
“We currently have 300 members, which is crazy awesome because last semester we only had 95,” Pscodna said.
CHAARG gathers members together by meeting every Wednesday to do a different workout each week, and instructor from the Lansing community who owns their own business conducts the class.
Aside from workouts, Pscodna said CHAARG has helped a lot of girls, including herself, feel better about themselves through knowing they are not alone when feeling insecure about their physical appearance.
“I have dealt with an eating disorder for over a year now, and being around CHAARG girls has helped with my recovery immensely,” Pscodna said.
Pscodna said CHAARG constantly spreads positivity and love by letting all girls know they are beautiful, flaws and all. No matter their activity level, the organization wants students to understand they can be beautiful running one mile, or ten.
“You don’t have to kill yourself with exercise and barely eating in order to be beautiful. Beauty truly does come from deeper,” Pscodna said.
MSU CHAARG is not alone in their fight to promote body positivity, as another student organization established in the ‘90s named Spartan Body Pride is longing for a similar outcome.
Emily Gould, secretary of SBP, said the organization strives to promote body positivity and raise awareness about eating disorders. Their goal is to gain more recognition for the problem regarding eating disorders on campus.
“There is a lot of emphasis on counting calories and not gaining the freshman 15, so we are all about combating that culture,” Gould said.
Gould said the group has a different focus for each meeting, and this week was all about tips and tricks on how to battle certain feelings during Halloween weekend. During a time where some want to dress provocatively and some want to dress on the conservative side, SBP encourages students to feel comfortable in whatever they are wearing, and not be afraid to indulge in the Halloween treats.
“Having treats in moderation is a good thing, and trying not to feel guilty about that is even better,” Gould said.
Gould said SBP has partnered with CHAARG in the past by creating a yoga night, and they plan to partner again this November.
“It would be great to partner with CHAARG and maybe have them lead something in a weight room to show alternative ways that aren’t running to improve how we feel about our bodies,” Gould said.
Gould said the group encourages their members to realize the way their bodies look to them, is not how it looks to outside individuals.
“You’ve got to fake it until you make it, even if you don’t feel great one day,” Gould said.
Sarah Shore, comparative culture and politics sophomore at MSU, said she has personally struggled with body image herself as a student on campus because of factors such as social media, and lack of confidence.
“I struggle with feeling bad about myself when I really shouldn’t be,” Shore said.
Shore said getting involved with body positive organizations helps students improve their body image by giving tips and tricks.
“More groups like this would be great on campus, and getting the word out will definitely help,” Shore said.
For other students who may be struggling as well, Shore suggests reaching out to the organizations on campus in order to get help with insecurity.
“I know it’s really really hard and it’s really a touchy subject, but I know if you reach out you’ll get the help you need,” Shore said.