ECHO Kicks Off Educational Week

The Eating Concerns Hotline and Outreach (ECHO), a student-run support group that offers a hotline and peer counseling, will seek a wider audience this week with workshops and displays about eating disorders at the Science Center.

“People are very conscious of [eating disorders], but it can be a quiet issue,” said ECHO co-director Rennie Taylor. “It’s also very much a problem for boys as well as girls, which is often not addressed.”

ECHO, the Bureau of Study Counsel and the Harvard Medical School’s Eating Disorders Center, have dubbed this week Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

And the groups have planned events to inform students about how to prevent eating disorders and spot warning signs of the illnesses. Taylor said the week would also address how the media contributes to negative stereotypes and perceptions of people who worry about their body images.

“It’s mainly just to raise awareness on campus,” Taylor said. “It’s not an in-your-face event, we just lay it out for the students.”

The annual event starts today with a panel discussion including Emme, a well-known “plus-size” model, who will discuss how stereotypes propogated by the entertainment industry can contribute to the onset of eating disorders in some people.

Other major events will include a display in the Science Center with information and quotations about eating disorders.

And, on Friday, ECHO will sponsor a workshop offering guidance to Harvard students who think someone close to them has an eating disorder. The workshop, titled “Friends, Lovers, and Roommates,” will be run by two members of the Bureau of Study Counsel who also work with ECHO on a regular basis.

A related event, a panel for people who are recovering from eating disorders and experiencing problems in their relationships, is also tentatively scheduled for later this month.