Creating Body Positive Campuses

The Body Positive offers leadership training for initiating powerful, student-led programs aimed at building Body Positive campuses. We provide the training and educational materials needed for students and staff to become compelling, positive role models and leaders, and to establish a social climate in the school community where healthy eating, a positive body image, and excellent self-care are the norm. Leadership teams create a Body Positive program tailored to meet the specific needs of their school. The training and educational materials prepare teams to conduct ongoing Body Positive discussion/activism groups, education and discussion about body image and health in a variety of settings, and activism projects on campus.

Schools with Body Positive programs have created environments where students can be free from obsession with physical perfection and can focus instead on intellectual and creative pursuits.

The Body Positive

To learn more about creating a Body Positive program in your middle school, high school, or college campus, contact
Connie Sobczak.

Our leadership training program is based on the Be Body Positive Model, which is comprised of five core competencies: Reclaim Health, Practice Intuitive Self-Care, Cultivate Self-Love, Declare Authentic Beauty, and Build Community. We teach students to claim authority over their own bodies and to take responsibility for their own self-care, starting at the most fundamental level--feeding themselves. Initial results from research with a small sample indicate that our model significantly improves people's ability to regulate eating, decreases depression and anxiety, and increases self-esteem.

The Body Positive's movement and educational outreach has
landed itself in college classrooms at UC Berkeley.

Sammy Jo RudyThe Democratic Education at Cal program offers students an opportunity to teach their peers through accredited UCB course units sponsored by a department faculty member. UC Berkeley student Sammy Jo Rudy, who has been a student leader with The Body Positive since she was in high school, just completed her second course teaching The Body Positive this past fall semester.

Thirty female students met every Thursday evening for two hours and explored body esteem and self-love as tools of empowerment for individuals and communities, discussed ways to break patterns of body hatred and learn a more holistic approach to living in a female body, and examined the Be Body Positive Model and Health at Every Size as alternative approaches to health. They explored social, political, historical, and cultural messages about women's bodies in order to connect their embodied experience to a wide variety of social justice issues. The classroom environment allowed Sammy Jo to combine the value of academia with the experiential work The Body Positive material offers. Her goal was to create a space where her students could escape once a week from the rigorous life at UC Berkeley to a supportive and enriching community, and still learn in a way that contributed to both their college education and personal lives. From the feedback the students gave about their experience, her goal was certainly achieved.

Sammy Jo has gone through many milestones since she came in contact with The Body Positive's work when she was 15 years old. Now, at 20, she feels The Body Positive has been one of the greatest influences on her success. "As a teenager, The Body Positive gave me a choice to be something other than a product of society. I made a decision as a woman to step outside of the social norm and begin the journey of loving myself. It's never perfect, but that would be boring. The gift this journey has given me is permission to chase the life of my dreams with soul force. And now I get to pay it forward, which is one of the most humbling and gratifying experiences all at once." Sammy Jo is also a neuroscience fanatic, and pursues outreach work in violence prevention and transforming trauma. She has taken her background with The Body Positive into all of these fields. "I believe The Body Positive's work is a tool for all pursuits in life. Of course confidence and self-love support success in both personal and professional endeavors, but I've also found that I draw connections to this work everywhere I go. The Body Positive has been essential to every educational program I've been a part of, to passions for topics in my psychology courses at school, to my creative projects, to everything. I always find myself teaching or talking about The Body Positive in every community and field imaginable."

UC Berkeley groupMany of Sammy Jo's students are also taking tokens of their experience out into the world; whether it's through their graduate school applications, sharing with their families, or even getting more involved with the organization and helping the class continue at UC Berkeley. We are excited to keep watching this community grow. This is the goal of The Body Positive: to empower people like Sammy Jo to be leaders in their community so that they can go out and empower others to do the same.

Explore some of the inspiring projects created by Sammy Jo's students at the end of the semester.