John Vito d’Antonio-Bertagnolli
Last Thursday, April 23, the sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority hosted their annual ANAD Dinner. For the uninitiated, ANAD stands for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, referring to a broad category of eating disorders, including bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Almost 30 million people in the US alone suffer from an eating disorder, including up to 20% and 10% of female and male college students, respectively.
Event organizer Sonali Kamath, Service Chair of DPhiE, mentioned that over XXX people were in attendance, a record turnout. This year’s guest speaker was Rutgers Newark student Travis Downs, a survivor of anorexia nervosa. Downs told an all-too-typical story of an overweight kid who developed anorexia. His speech, packed with more black humor than a typical episode of Louie, included a few particularly poignant statements. Downs asked the room, “Who thinks that having an eating disorder is awful?” When nearly everyone raised their hands, he then asked, “Who thinks that it’s awesome?” To a room with no hand raised, he replied, “The fucked up thing that no one tells you is that it’s both. It’s addictive.”
Downs has been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa twice, and bulimia nervosa once. He credits his recovery to his girlfriend, but mentioned that he faced sexism throughout his recovery process. Over 90% of anorexia diagnoses occur with women, leading to such blatant sexism as an eating disorder recovery facility with no inpatient care facilities for men. Downs believes that “eating disorders are not battles, they’re wars, because they stuck with you for the rest of your life. You think that you don’t want to be helped.” He gave advice to both people suffering from and people who know someone who is affected by an eating disorder.
The $10 admission price included dinner and two raffle tickets for the 25 gift baskets that were raffled off at the event. One lucky winner received four baskets throughout the evening. Over XXX dollars were raised at the event, a resounding success.