By Danielle Kiefer
Em-Pow-Her, a new student group that promotes self-love and healthy lifestyles for women, held a body positivity trivia night at the Kappa Alpha Theta house April 12.
Founders Emily Tempchin, Emma Santos, Sarah Vallarelli, Alex Hemmer and Rachel Simoncic started Em-Pow-Her as a part of the university’s Do Good Challenge through their class this semester, “Special Topics in Public Policy; Innovation and Social Change: Do Good Now.”
“We were assigned the social group of women, and we decided to target specifically women on campus,” Vallarelli, a senior communications major, said. “We feel like girls come to campus, and they are automatically putting themselves down because of body images they see in the media, so we wanted to empower them to love themselves and be comfortable in their skin.”
Following a brief introduction about Em-Pow-Her, the trivia night featured a jeopardy-style game, with categories including facts about body dysmorphia, access to UMD resources, mental health and therapy on campus and facts about Em-Pow-Her.
“I learned a lot about resources for mental health and facts about body dysmorphia,” sophomore public health science major Carly Hoggle said.
Body dysmorphia, or body dysmorphic disorder, is a mental illness characterized by obsessions and extreme negative thoughts about one’s appearances, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Em-Pow-Her aims to “provide a safe and motivational online and community-based presence to prevent body image dissatisfaction, which can lead to self-hate and mental illnesses,” according to their website.
The founders of Em-Pow-Her advertised the trivia night by reaching out to other campus groups, such as CHAARG, through social media, and by leaving flyers at Open Barre Studios.
“We decided to hold a trivia night because we thought that in addition to empowering people, people need to know the facts,” Vallarelli said. “By quizzing them, we can provide them with information, and it’s also a fun outlet.”
As far as future events, the group is in the midst of planning a yoga night in partnership with Numi Yoga in College Park.
“I think the event was successful and the people who came had fun,” Tempchin, a senior communications major, said. “Our main goal was just to make people more aware of the resources on campus and of what body dysmorphia is.”