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Body Talk Peer Health Advocates

Mission Statement: Empower students to examine societal norms, cultural impositions, and personal relationships with their bodies and create a campus environment more accepting of these conversations by providing safe spaces to discuss issues related to body image and hosting educational workshops.

Sinduri Soundararaja

Sinduri Soundararajan

Coordinator

Second Year

Majors: Public Policy + Environmental and Urban Studies

"While societal norms, narrow representations in media, and inaccurate perceptions of health make it difficult to reach a place of full acceptance and peace with one’s body, I hope to continue my own journey towards body positivity while empowering others to join me through The Body Talk PHA program. I am eager to be involved with and expand an incredible community of students that challenge existing obstacles by starting inclusive and perceptive conversations."


Daniella Conner

Daniella Conner

Second Year

Major: Biology, minor in HIPS and Health and Society

"Although the representation of different bodies is increasing in the media, I recognize that there is still work to be done towards eliminating the confinement of beauty to a single, physical appearance. I firmly believe that, in order to bring about change as a society, it is important to begin with the individual. Self-acceptance and self-love do not happen overnight or (often) alone. I joined the PHA program to contribute to creating a safe and supportive atmosphere on campus where everyone can be free to share their struggles, knowing that they will be received with open ears and without judgment. In a generation that has ingrained self-deprecation into our culture, I want to work towards the normalization of self-love by spreading awareness and solidifying an emotional and resource support network."


Viky Filippou

Viky Filippou

Third Year

Majors: Psychology and Comparative Human Development

"I joined Body Talk because I feel like diet culture is such a normalised and ingrained way of thinking not just in society, but especially among high school and college-age people, and can be much more pervasive than people realise. I believe wholeheartedly that being vocal about diet culture, educating others about the industry and the cultural fixation around it, and talking candidly as a community about the ways in which we and the people around us can liberate ourselves from these toxic ideals is the way in which we can start creating individual change that hopefully ripples into each of our respective communities. The empathetic and evidence-based approach used in our programming and the way that we are able to dictate our content according to what students want to see and learn more about is a huge part of the reason that I’m proud to be a PHA and look forward to helping educate and uplift others."


Ayushi Hegde

Ayushi Hegde

PHA

Third Year

Majors: Biological Sciences and French

"I joined Body Talk because I believe that having a positive relationship with our body is so important, yet so under-discussed; we all have bodies, but there’s a certain amount of stigma and shame tied to eating disorders, negative body image and body positivity as a movement. As a Peer Health Advocate, I’m excited to be part of a group working to reframe that conversation. I hope to educate others on this campus on the importance of self-care and self-acceptance — to encourage others to think or talk more openly about their relationships with their bodies without fear of judgement."


Natasha Joseph

Natasha Joseph

PHA

Fourth Year

Major: Computational and Applied Mathematics

"Being body positive is very important to me because I believe that everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin without feeling shame under societal pressures. Joining Body Talk has given me the opportunity to learn more about these topics in order to help my peers and myself, which is an invaluable experience for me."


Arnaaz Khwaja

Arnaaz Khwaja

Third Year

Major: Anthropology

"I joined Body Talk because I think, especially in college, body image issues are a challenge a large percentage of the population struggles with, but rarely are discussed because of the unhealthy normalization (at least in my experience) of these problems. I want to do my part to create a healthy space for open dialogue, and joining the Body Talk cohort is definitely a great way to start. I’m looking forward to taking part in discussions centered around both personal experiences and educational resources!"


Julia Richardson

Julia Richardson

Third Year

Major: Public Policy

"I joined Body Talk because detrimental notions of wellness and beauty infiltrate our daily lives through the media, negative self-talk, and a culture of self-deprecation -- these undermine personal strength and discourage a positive self-relationship, which is the most important relationship to cultivate. As part of Body Talk, I hope to promote self-love at UChicago by encouraging inclusive discussions about health and advocating for the importance of self-acceptance. I'm incredibly excited to foster positivity and a supportive campus climate as a Peer Health Advocate!"


Nidhi Talasani

Nidhi Talasani

Second Year

Major: Biological Sciences

"With the growing presence of social media and its effect on societal expectations, it’s becoming increasingly important for us to learn to be comfortable in our own skin. Through Body Talk, I want to help reframe the conversation surrounding body image and promote body positivity. By becoming a PHA I hope to learn from discussions I have with my peers and grow as an individual."


Evan Williams

Evan Williams

Third Year

Majors: History & Creative Writing

"Before I found Body Talk, I felt left out of conversations around body image, food, exercise, and lived experiences with each. As a peer health advocate, I hope to create a space for those who might not otherwise be exposed to, or feel included in spaces working to normalize talking about that most common condition of living with a body."


Isabella Xu

Isabella Xu

Third Year

Major: Biological Sciences

"I joined Body Talk because there is so much stigma and harmful stereotypes around eating disorders, body image issues. These messages are so embedded in the media and our everyday lives that it’s hard to recognize and dismantle. I think it’s incredibly important to create an inclusive space for people of any identities and backgrounds to feel comfortable in their own skins. As someone who is working towards accepting and loving my own body, I hope to use my platform as a peer health advocate to educate and support others to develop healthy relationships with their own bodies."


Elaine Yuning

Elaine Yuning

Third Year

Majors: Linguistics and Visual Arts

"As a Body Talk PHA, I look forward to engaging and supporting my peers as we work toward a kinder and healthier understanding of our bodies. Everyone has a different journey of living in and loving their body, and I'm happy to join a community that creates space to share our experiences and grow together."


Self-Care UnMasked: 

In November 2020, Body Talk hosted a workshop exposing myths around self-care. "Self-care" is a term that is thrown around all the time, but what does it really mean? From its roots in the Black Panther Party to its commercialization by beauty brands today, self-care is truly a multilayered concept. Now more than ever, it is important to recognize these intricacies and make time to practice self-care.


Blank Slate: BodyTalk x Outside the Lines Virtual Figure Drawing Session:

This Valentine’s Day, join Outside the Lines and BodyTalk to make some works of (he)art! After a short discussion on the power of art and representation in the movement/experience of body positivity, we will be joined by a live model on Zoom for a session of figure drawing.


Navigating Nutrition: Examining Health at Every Size® as a Social Justice Framework:

The BodyTalk PHAs are so excited to host a conversation with Christyna Johnson, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who works to promote a nutrition philosophy rooted in Health at Every Size. Ms. Johnson (@EncouragingDietician on Instagram) uses social media as a resource to educate and promote a wide range of issues, such as food morality, intuitive eating, and the intersection of nutrition and social justice. Join us over zoom to learn more about intuitive eating and Health at Every Size® as ways to form a sustainable personal relationship with your body!

Pet Love

UChicagoSocial: UChicago Student Wellness