The past week was not without excitement, even if students set aside the history-making snowstorms. This was especially true for the women of Delta Phi Epsilon, who had been working to prepare for their candlelight vigil in support of the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD).
The sorority set themselves up in front of Fogler Library for the public event, which took place on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. Three of the sorority sisters, Asia Wohlfiel, Noelle Hanna and Estella Meyers had been asked to speak at the event about either their own or related experiences. Both the public, as well as other sorority groups like Phi Mu, were in attendance to show their support during the event.. Throughout the night, the sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon handed out candles as well as words of encouragement to others who may be struggling with disorders, like anorexia nervosa.
Sierra Zinke, a second year at UMaine studying Kinesiology, also serves as the Vice President of Programming for Delta Phi Epsilon. She was eager to describe how they came up with the idea for the vigil.
“Previous Vice Presidents of Programming have held candlelight vigils, and they told me about it, but we had not been able to host one since I joined last year,” she said. “Also, during recruitment we show videos to show how important our philanthropies are to us. In the ANAD video, another chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon hosted a vigil and I felt that it was really important we try to bring it back to the University of Maine.”
The group believes that body positivity is very important, which was the biggest message they wanted to spread during the days leading up to the event.
“Bringing the vigil back was something I thought was great because it gives everyone the opportunity to share and have support,” Zinke said.
The sorority represents two major philanthropies, ANAD and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This event serves as just one of many that they host throughout the year to try to encourage UMaine students to recognize the difficulties associated with these disorders.
“We had to first go find a date and time that we thought we would be able to get the majority of people at. We wanted the public to come so we chose a time after most workplaces close so that anyone had the opportunity to join us,” Zinke said. “Afterwards we thought that we should hold it outside. Although it was super cold, having it outside would bring people together and allow for more people to attend because we had the most space. So, we decided to hold the event on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on the Mall right outside the library.”
The group stated that they contacted the international headquarters for Delta Phi Epsilon to determine if there were any specific protocols for the vigil. Since there were no guidelines for the event, the group decided to follow samples of other vigils.
The sisters believe the event was a success, though they add that upon seeing far less than one hundred participants, a better attendance is the number one goal for similar events in the future.