Go Green with Blue Jeans

Courtney Garloff, Print Editor

With warm weather approaching, many students just take their jeans and throw them in storage for the spring and summer, but H.O.P.E. is giving them a reason to do otherwise.

Members of H.O.P.E., or Healthy Options Peer Educators, are collecting denim as a way to help both men and women feel comfortable about their genes – those of the physiological variety. Members want to promote positive body image no matter a person’s shape and size by bringing the “Blue Jeans for True Genes” denim campaign to campus.

“Our main goal is to promote a positive mind, body and spirit in everyone. We work to show that true beauty comes from within,” said H.O.P.E. coordinator Carly Zaklukiewicz.

The H.O.P.E. group collected unwanted pairs of jeans in the Banks Student Center lobby March 10.

“The goal of the drive is to take jeans or other pants that don’t fit anymore and get rid of them because they’re not bettering you. Just because a pair of jeans doesn’t fit anymore, does not mean that you are any less beautiful. One’s beauty and worth is not determined by the size on the tag. The goal of the drive is to take good jeans and donate them to women in need,” said Zaklukiewicz.

Students can still drop off donations at the Counseling and Psychological Services Center center office on the lower level of McGowan Hall.

“The drive has a catchy play on the words ‘jeans’ and ‘genes.’ Basically we are asking students, faculty and staff to bring in jeans that might not fit the way that they like best or make them feel uncomfortable,” said H.O.P.E. coordinator Amanda Sutton.

Members will deliver all donations to the Ruth’s Place homeless shelter for women in Wilkes Barre.

“The campus Healthy Options Peer Educators want to promote a positive body image and help others feel good about their shape and size while trying to be as healthy as possible. It is for this reason they are bringing this campaign to MU,” said Director of Counseling & Psychological Services Center Dr. Cindy March.

The drive started nationally in 2006, and March brought the idea to campus.

“The idea is that when we hang on to jeans that we used to fit into but no longer do, we then feel bad about ourselves, put ourselves down for not being a particular size, and we might even start taking drastic measures to fit into the old jeans. In reality, our body naturally changes over time, and so keeping a pair of jeans that we might have worn in our senior year of high school when we are now a junior or senior in college makes no sense,” said March.

Members hope that this drive will help others in need while helping to remind students to love their bodies. They also hope to prevent students from feeling the need to use fad diets, extreme starvation, extreme exercise and purging.

“The idea is that the label on our pants should never ever define how we feel about ourselves. We need to love our genes,” said Sutton.

H.O.P.E. also focuses on more than maintaining a positive image.

“We are a group that stands for healthy mind, body and spirit, so we focus on important issues such as handling stress, spreading positivity, eating disorder awareness, and other topics as well throughout the school year,” said Sutton.

H.O.P.E. had also previously held events such as “Operation Beautiful” in which students placed post-it notes around campus and posted quotes on the floor in Banks before finals week.

“We do this to spread positivity to everyone on campus. We also help the CAPs Center with its mood and eating disorder screenings,” said Sutton.

The coordinators feel that the closeness of the group helps them to get a lot accomplished and to better inform the campus community.

“Our group is small and we meet often, so we all have a close relationship with one another,” said Sutton.

For more information on the Blue Jeans for True Genes drive contact the CAPS center in the bottom of McGowan Hall.

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