The Public Health Club held a “Body Positive Initiative,” which started on Friday, Oct. 21 and went through the following week. During the initiative, members were able to create sticky notes with their own body positivity and mental health affirmations on various mirrors around campus. These notes allowed students to be reminded of the positive messages throughout their day.
Senior Payton Matthews, co-president of the Public Health Club discussed the purpose of the body positive initiative, and emphasized the importance of the movement to provide what she describes as a “safe campus environment.”
Matthews hopes that through the presence of these messages around campus, students will be “empowered to promote body acceptance and neutrality.”
She explained that “by going to a university with students from all different walks of life, shapes and sizes, comparison becomes inevitable.”
Matthews continued by emphasizing the role of this movement in that issue, expressing that she hopes “this movement will empower students to embrace their body, feel safe, grounded and appreciate everything their body does for them.”
Regarding the inspiration of the initiative, Matthews explained that in terms of the Public Health Club’s goal with this display, “Body image is a public health initiative. Body positivity not only fosters self-love, as it invokes individuals to take care of their health but is also directly tied to improving mental health, higher self-esteem, participation in healthy movement and nutritious foods.”
Sophomore Sara Rush, social media manager of the club, added to this message, expressing that the movement was created to “remind others that all bodies are beautiful bodies.”
The sticky note format of the initiative, though its presence is small at first glance, had a strong positive impact on many students who viewed them, as well as those who created them.
“We chose to use post-it notes because they serve as small colorful reminders and when you look and see yourself in the mirrors you can also see a positive affirmation alongside your reflection,” said Rush.
Public Health Club member Ana Peacock ‘25 explained her personal connection to the message behind the initiative.
“Walking from class to class, students are stressed and thinking about all they have to do,” she said. “Seeing these notes on the way to class helped ground me and made me become more present in the moment.”
Peacock described her experience with participating in the initiative, sharing what she wrote, and put up for others to see.
“Something I wrote was ‘you are doing better than you think you are doing,’” she further explained. “I like this quote because it is a universal reminder to each person that they should give themselves more credit for their accomplishments and to not be so tough on themselves.”
Rush explains that within these moments of stress and self-doubt, “It is so important to treat yourself with kindness and love your body, especially during college, where it’s easy to get stressed and forget to take time for yourself.”
Matthews adds to this, explaining that “Being reminded to embrace your body and thank your body for helping you move every day allows an individual to realize they are worth so much more than the ‘ideal body’ they may strive for.”
Junior member Julianna Sinotte discusses the positivity that this movement creates on campus, saying “it is such a great way to improve our campus culture and establish awareness surrounding body positivity.”
Sinotte notes on behalf of the Public Health Club “We want everyone on our campus to feel loved and cared for, and doing something as simple as putting post-it notes around was a great start to improving campus culture! We really hope that the campaign puts a smile on peoples’ faces!”
The Public Health Club showcased their movement on their Instagram page @fairfield_publichealthclub, sharing the hashtag #stagsarebodypositive. Information regarding Public Health Club’s future events and initiatives can also be found on their Instagram account.