S.H.A.P.E. (Student’s Helping to Achieve Positive Esteem)
UConn S.H.A.P.E. is a peer education group that strives to promote accepting attitudes towards all body shapes and sizes while helping to encourage self-esteem and positive body image. It also fosters awareness about disordered eating and eating disorders, the warning signs, and the resources available for support on campus. Through presentations, events, and discussions, S.H.A.P.E. peer educators provide knowledge and aid to the entire UConn community.
S.H.A.P.E. meets every Thursday 5:30 to 6:30 pm at the Cordial House. Meetings include peer discussions on topics relevant to body image, organizing campus-wide events to raise awareness about disordered eating, and facilitating presentations with Greek life and other student body organizations. New members are always welcome.
S.H.A.P.E as a Peer Education Group
S.H.A.P.E is one of 30+ peer education groups on campus. UConn S.H.A.P.E is a part of the Department of Student Health and Wellness and provides students with the opportunity to gain experience by becoming trained peer educators. These experiences include but are not limited to:
- Public speaking
- Facilitation of discussions
- Handling sensitive body image related topics
- Effectively working in groups
Become a Peer Educator
- Being a UConn S.H.A.P.E peer educator is a great way to get involved around campus, take on new leadership roles, and network with other passionate peer educators.
- UConn S.H.A.P.E. is supervised by SHaW Registered Dietitians.
- All S.H.A.P.E. members learn information about eating disorders, body image, how to help a friend, campus resources, combating negative body talk, the impact of media, and more.
- All members learn techniques to facilitate workshops, lead presentations, and develop strong communication skills.
- Meetings are held weekly or biweekly.
- All members take turns facilitating what we call “internal development” (critiquing articles or discussing positive podcasts for example in order to continually engage in body acceptance discussions among other relevant topics).
- Members observe and practice conducting workshops and presentations.
To apply to become a UConn S.H.A.P.E. peer educator, please fill out the form below.
Programs and Events
UConn S.H.A.P.E. provides interactive presentations and workshops to residence halls and others throughout the academic year on some of the warning signs of disordered eating and eating disorders, how to help a friend, body image, promotion of body acceptance and positive body image, media and other influences on body image and disordered eating, and resources on campus for support (ongoing).
Student Health and Wellness Fair (September)
At the beginning of the fall semester, UConn S.H.A.P.E. has a table at the annual Student Health and Wellness Fair. There are interactive activities and information about eating disorder resources, body image, and how to get involved in S.H.A.P.E.!
Fashion is for EveryBODY (October)
UConn S.H.A.P.E’s Annual Fashion Show (Previously known as Cat Walk to End Fat Talk) welcomes and celebrates all people of all body shapes, sizes and identities to show off their favorite outfits and costumes in a positive, upbeat environment. This event embraces body acceptance and liberation.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February)
- Increase awareness of eating disorders, improving body image, and eating disorder resources available on the UConn campus
- Examples of events
- Jars of Self Acceptance with USG in 2020
- Walden Behavioral Care Q&A Panel co-sponsored with the Women’s Center and UConn Active Minds
- Paint the rock by north garage
- Presentations by UConn guest speakers on topics such as intuitive eating and health at every size among others
- What does body acceptance mean to you? A fall 2020 video by SHAPE members to the song Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara (video edited by peer educator Elizabeth Shaul ‘23)
- Promote discussions on body acceptance and positive body image
- 2021 Theme: Nourish to Flourish
- Past themes: This Body Can, Come as You Are
To request a presentation, event or to co-sponsor an event you are doing click here.
2022 National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 21-27)
- This Year's Events
- Give One Get One -- Feb 21
- Students can stop by Fairfield Way to get a compliment and write a compliment for another student!
- Give-away items!
- Fairfield Way 12-3 pm
- NEDA Week Kahoot Night -- Feb 22
- NEDA Virtual Art Show
Students are welcome to submit visual art related to the NEDA Week theme “See the Change, Be the Change.”
The Art Show will be online and art will be featured on the art show website
Submissions Close Feb 24
Voting is Between Feb 25 and 27
- Give One Get One -- Feb 21
The UConn Body Project, Co-hosted with the Women’s Center
- The Body Project is an evidenced-based body image program that decreases eating disorders risk factors. It is a workshop that teaches students to recognize pressures in society to obtain a specific body ideal (often thinner) and speak out against it. The program enforces self-acceptance and body peace, and helps students actively promote positive body image. This workshop includes several engaging activities and scenarios that enrich participants and allow them to bond. Every workshop has two, 2-hour sessions to be completed within a week of each other. The Body Project is facilitated by trained UConn students (Body Project Facilitators). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about signing up to participate in this program or to become a facilitator.
- For more information on the program check out Body Project Support
What your peers are saying about how it is to be a S.H.A.P.E. Peer Educator:
“Over the years, SHAPE has provided me with friendships, leadership skills, public speaking experiences, and a voice to advocate for topics I personally believe need more attention on college campuses. When I was a freshman, I wanted to get involved in something related to eating disorder awareness at UConn. Four years later, I had no idea SHAPE would have provided me with such amazing opportunities, including planning events with other on-campus organizations, experiences collaborating with registered dietitians, and fantastic information to carry on with me into my future career in nutrition.” -Maia Smith, Nutritional Sciences ‘21 SHAPE Intern
“SHAPE has given me a safe space to learn about body positivity and eating disorders. The group taught me not only how to help others, but also how to help myself in my own struggles in body image. I am excited to take what I’ve learned and apply it throughout my life and career as a future registered dietitian” -Autumn Blasi, Nutritional Sciences ‘21 Peer Educator
“Being a part of a group of peer educators in SHAPE has helped me in my ability to communicate about things that are hard to talk about. Working with so many amazing and intelligent people has been such a great learning experience and has taught me skills that I will use throughout my lifetime. I love getting the chance to educate others, but also be educated by others in the process.” -Elizabeth Shaul, Digital Media and Design ‘23 SHAPE Intern
“From my first meeting to my last, SHAPE has been an extremely welcoming community that has provided me with many amazing opportunities through UConn” -Kristen Rossi, Nutritional Sciences ‘21 Peer Educator
“SHAPE is a welcoming environment that promotes conversation about body positivity and body image. It’s been a rewarding experience getting to work with not only the rest of the group, but working on larger scale projects like Jars of Self Acceptance (Spring 2020) with USG.”- Robert Fisk Jr Management and Information Systems ‘22