The University of Rhode Island’s Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center is hosting Inside Out Week from Feb. 23 through Feb. 27 to recognize National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Throughout the week, movement and body awareness classes will be held in Fascitelli, like a “Beyonce Booty Barre workout” and a medley of yoga and meditation classes. Informative tables set up in Fascitelli, Mackal Gymnasium, The Ram’s Den and the Memorial Union aim to raise awareness for self esteem and identity issues, substance abuse and self-care.

According to Courtney Mackey, fitness and wellness specialist at Fascitelli, the tables around campus are “to reach other audiences that might not be coming to the facility and still raise awareness, maybe encouragement to come to the facility…it’s our way of trying to break the ice and get new people…people that might really need it, but they’re afraid.”

Each day has events around a set theme. Monday’s events focused on media literacy and the negative effects of TV ads, in addition to positive images set out by the media. Throughout the week, Mackey hopes to cover the gym mirror with “post-it-tivity,” positive messages and reactions on post-its.

Students were also given the opportunity to check out locks for free as a motivation to lock away technology. “We’re trying to encourage them to be more aware of their body while they’re exercising,” says Mackey.

At the end of the week, students that attended five or more events and fill out a program evaluation form will receive a free t-shirt for their participation. The entire week is focused around positive and healthy motivation.

Credit: Holland Newell/The Good 5 Cent Cigar
Credit: Holland Newell/The Good 5 Cent Cigar

“Intention is very important…you often want to ask people…why are you here today? What’s your motivation?” said Mackey. “Obviously for a lot of people in this generation, that’s going to be appearance-based reasons…we’re not trying to bring them down and feel bad…just kind of raise their awareness of how it could be affecting them psychologically.”

Beverage samples from Blossom Water and snack food donated from URI’s Dining Services will be given out at the Fascitelli info tables.

Two films sponsored by URI Eating Concerns Advisors (UReca) – another sponsor of the event along with Health Services, the Counseling Center and Rhode Island Campus Rec – will also be screened in the Fascitelli seminar room on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Both films feature people affected by eating disorders and emotional, cultural and psychological influences. “Exercising is good, but if you’re doing it out of hatred toward yourself, it can become unhealthy over time and lead toward eating disorders,” said Mackey.

This is the university’s first year hosting Inside Out Week, but the Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center hopes to make this an annual event. “Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to bring in more organizations and departments from the university to collaborate,” said Mackey. “There’s so much negativity out there and we just want a week for students to have fun and love themselves in order to help them love others better.”