With the 2015-2016 academic year coming to a close, the Body Positive advisory group came together for lunch to reflect on the past year, while looking toward the year to come. Everyone in attendance shared their highlights from the year, some noting that both annual events, like the Mother Daughter Brunch, and new events, such as Southern Smash, were a great success.

Some pointed toward the continued strength in our close partnership with The UVA Coalition on Eating Disorders and Exercise Concerns and HOPE, while also noting a new and developing partnership with the recently opened treatment center, Prosperity. Through the continuation of partnerships and the development of new ones, the group agreed that the effort to create a culture of body positivity on Grounds can extend far beyond our Body Positive program. Our 2016-2017 senior intern, Madison Baril, echoed the desire for an increase in partnerships after her experience hosting the Body Positive lunch, “The Body Positive Movement: Progress and Pressures.” She noted that by developing relationships with more organizations across Grounds, the Body Positive program would have a greater chance at expanding the diversity of those involved with and affected by the program.

Amy Chestnut and Karlin Luedtke, who taught Gender, Body, and Activism during this spring semester, opened it up to the group to brainstorm ways that their students projects and ideas might be utilized beyond the classroom. The group discussed the idea of its potential part in Celebrate Every Body Week planning, the idea of collaborating with HOPE, or even the Peer Health Educators.

While many ideas were floated around and discussed during this strategic planning meeting, taking advantage of the opportunities for partnerships with more organizations on Grounds was continually noted as a necessity for next years team. With such a sound and innovative group of advisors, we look forward to seeing what our 2016-2017 Body Positive team accomplishes.