UF students went a day without knowing if anything was stuck in their teeth on Monday.
Mirrors across eleven locations on campus, including residence halls, Library West and the Disability Resource Center, were covered in paper in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which is the last week of February, said Natalie Rella, a GatorWell health promotion specialist.
“Mirrorless Monday” was organized by GatorWell, a health promotion services organization on campus, which brought the event to campus in 2013, Rella said
It is a part of a nationwide initiative by the National Eating Disorders Association, a national nonprofit organization.
The goal of the event was to cover all mirrors in participating UF buildings with paper and ask students to skip the mirror for a day to remind them looks are not everything, Rella said.
“When you walk in front of a mirror you shouldn’t be dwelling on what you can’t fix,” Rella said. “Boy or girl, everyone is critical of their bodies.”
In an assessment carried out by Gatorwell in Fall 2018, 1.3 percent of students reported that they had an eating disorder that negatively affected their academic success.
“While this is not a huge percentage, if you think about 1 percent of the student body, that is kind of a big number,” Rella said.
A marker was also left in the bathrooms for students to write messages, Rella said.
These included responses such as “Lookin’ good hot stuff” and “You don’t need a mirror to know you are beautiful,” to one another.
“Even if people don’t write a statement, they’ll read the statements, and that will at least have a small impact on everyone,” Rella said.
Christine Berry, a 20-year-old UF political science and history sophomore, was touched by the act.
“Sometimes you are running to class and want to make sure you look OK, but I didn’t think it was bothersome at all,” Berry said. “I thought the message was way more important.”
Danielle Samelson, a 21-year-old UF dietetics senior, said she was concerned about the effectiveness of the idea.
“It’s a waste of paper, and people will just end up looking on their phone screens anyway,” Samelson said.
Mirrors across eleven locations on campus were covered in paper in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Students were encouraged to write inspirational messages on the paper.