By Julia Wallace
Wellness Week, which lasted November 2-8, was an effort made by the Women’s Center and the Health and Wellness House to address wellness on campus holistically through a series of events and lectures. This is the first event of its kind in Sewanee, and was put together completely by students.
“We tried to provide a week of events that encompassed different aspects of wellness whether that be physical (like self-defense and nutrition) or emotional (through the panel for freshmen women and the radical self love event),” said Women’s Center resident Emily Susman (C’14). “This way we hoped to provide enough events to interest a wider group of students.”
The week began with a color run put on by the Health and Wellness House, or as it is sometimes referred, the Good Life House.
“An event like the Color Run is the epitome of Sewanee,” Rebecca McDonough (C’14) said. “It was a festive way to spend an afternoon with friends and enjoy our campus on a beautiful day.”
Unfortunately the next two events, Yoga with Adele Ewan and Women’s Self Defense with Chief Marie were both cancelled due to emergencies. The next event was a lecture by nutritionist Pamela Kelle on November 5 in the Women’s Center.
“The nutritionist was very informative and I think really conveyed the importance of a healthy diet,” Good Life resident Janie Whitaker (C’14) said. “She talked a lot about certain diets that are really ‘in’ right now and why they are actually detrimental to one’s health. I think this was important for a lot of people to hear.”
The documentary Miss Representation was shown in Blackman Auditorium on November 6. The film explores the relationship between women and the mainstream media, looking specifically at how the media’s general tendency to limit women’s identities eventually contributes to the underrepresentation of their influential positions. The film expresses that young women especially need good role models, and the media does not typically provide them.
One of the most well attended events was the panel discussion “What We Wish We Had Known.” Juniors and seniors spoke to freshmen and sophomores about their personal stories following the theme of the title of the event.
“We think that mentorship and fostering of female relationships are great ways to create a healthy and strong environment for the women on campus. I think that this event was something that has been lacking in the past and really seemed to go over well with both the upperclassmen who got to share their stories and the freshmen,” Susman said. Sydney Philpott (C’15), Hannah Beath (C’14), Maria Stratienko (C’14), Alexandra George (C’15), Brittany Macon (C’14), and Angelica de Freitas (C’15) lead the panel.
The week concluded with an SOP hike on the Caldwell Rim Trail and the Radical Self Love Party on November 8. The party was for women to gather to talk about what they love about themselves.
“The idea to host a wellness week came from the dissatisfaction that we think a lot of women at Sewanee have regarding their bodies,” Whitaker said. “We think that the media puts so much pressure on women to have a certain type of body that it leads many of them to have a negative body image. We wanted women to leave this week feeling empowered and confident about themselves.”
Members of the Women’s Center and the Good Life House began planning for the event in October, and there has already been desire for a similar event series in the spring.
“We haven’t talked specifically about doing something next semester yet, but the Women’s Center and the Good Life house have a lot of goals in common,” Whitaker said. “I hope that we will organize another week centered around female empowerment and health and wellness.”