GW Briefs

Counseling center tackles eating disorders

GW is trying to educate students about a serious condition that affects one in five college-aged women nationwide: eating disorders.

Recently, there has been a “spike” in the number of people coming to the University Counseling Center for treatment and information about eating disorders, said John Dages, associate director of the UCC.

As part of the National Eating Disorder Awareness Month, the UCC has targeted what it has identified as high-risk groups with increased outreach efforts.

Last week the University Counseling Center welcomed about 50 people to a dinner meeting and a viewing of a film about eating disorders.

About 20 percent of college-aged women struggle with an eating disorder and the prevalence at GW “could be even higher, given the demographics of the school,” Dages said.

“Students here are in a stressful and hyper-competitive environment and come from the middle to upper-middle class, both of which are associated with higher rates of eating disorders,” Dages said.

The UCC is focusing on giving information to students about how they should help a friend who is struggling with an eating disorder, Dages said. He recommends to students that they should speak with friends who may have eating disorders, and he encouraged those suffering from an eating disorder to consult professionals for help.

While 80 percent of those with eating disorders eventually recover, those who can go untreated are in some cases putting their lives at risk. Anorexia nervosa, or an obsession with being thin, has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, Dages said.

-Katharine Malone

OLAS establishing award to honor slain student

The Organization of Latino American Students has plans to establish an academic award honoring its slain alumna Imette St. Guillen. The creation of the award will be announced at this year’s Noche de Cultura event in April.

“It will be academic-based because (Imette) was really focused on that,” said senior Paulina Abaunza, president of OLAS. St. Guillen graduated magna cum laude in 2003 with a degree in criminal justice.

The 24-year-old St. Guillen was found murdered last Sunday in Brooklyn, New York. St. Guillen was enrolled as a graduate student at Manhattan’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Her killer is still at large.

This year’s event will not only be honoring OLAS’s 10th anniversary but also St. Guillen, who served on the organization’s executive board.

Michael Trask, a GW graduate and OLAS alumnus, said St. Guillen was always involved with the planning of the Cultura event, a celebration of Latin food, music and culture.

-Lizzie Wozobski

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