Body Positive Cornell

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Meet our BPC group facilitators

Body Positive Cornell group facilitators standing in front of the Cornell clock tower

Peer facilitators for our 2019-2020 BPC groups.
 

Body Positive Cornell (BPC)…

  • is a peer education initiative
  • is a community that fosters body acceptance
  • provides empirically-based, weight-neutral information about health
  • challenges discrimination based on size and/or appearance
  • is a force for positive social change at Cornell

There are many ways to get involved with Body Positive Cornell! 

BPC Group registration

Registration for Spring 2020 groups has closed. If you have questions or want additional information, email jb2556@cornell.edu.

About BPC Groups

“Our Body Positive Cornell group provided a safe space where we could discuss personal and sensitive subjects involving body image and wellness. Openness and dialogue were inspired and encouraged without judgment or stigmatization.” Student Facilitator 

Developed in partnership with The Body Positive™,  BPC promotes holistic wellness practices that increase physical, mental, and emotional health using a weight-neutral, self-empowerment model built upon the following five core competencies: reclaiming health; practicing intuitive self-care; cultivating self-love; declaring your own authentic beauty; and building community. BPC uses the Be Body Positive™ curriculum, a research-based program grounded in the Health at Every Size™ philosophy.

In group, participants learn about and discuss a range of topics, including…

  • messages that they have received or internalized from others (e.g., media, friends/family) about health, appearance, etc.

  • challenges regarding health and body image

  • evidence-based, weight-neutral approaches to health 

  • ways to increase body appreciation

  • strategies for cultivating greater self-compassion and reducing self-critical thoughts

  • how to practice intuitive self-care (e.g., intuitive eating, intuitive movement, and more)

Members form a supportive, caring community where such topics can be openly discussed and explored.

Scroll down to see testimonials from past BPC participants.

Who may participate in BPC groups?

Groups are open to undergraduate and graduate students of all backgrounds, genders, identities, and bodies. Participants can choose to join one of the following groups: General Student Body (open to all students); Varsity Athletics; Women of Color; or Panhel. There is also one group for staff and faculty members. (Note: Group options are subject to change based on student and facilitator availability.)

When do groups meet?

Groups are offered in the fall and spring semesters and meet once a week for 8 weeks. Each session lasts about an hour. Registration for groups occurs at the beginning of each semester and groups generally begin meeting 3-4 weeks into the semester. 

  * SPRING 2020 GROUPS *

  General Student Body Groups:

  • Mondays at 5:00 pm (Central campus, near Collegetown, exact location TBD)
  • Wednesdays at 7:30 pm (Central campus, near Collegetown, exact location TBD)
  • Wednesdays at 8:00 pm (Tatkon Center)

  Women of Color Group:

  • Wednesdays at 7:00 pm (Willard Straight Hall) 

  Panhel Group (tentative):

  • Wednesdays at 7:00 pm (Central campus, near Collegetown, exact location TBD)

  Varsity Athletics Group:

  • Sundays at 7:00 pm (Bartels)

  Staff / Faculty Group:

  • Tuesdays from noon to 1:00 pm at Cornell Health.

What is the group format?

Groups are interactive, and are composed of approximately 6-12 people. Peer leaders facilitate the groups with support from staff/faculty supervisors.

Becoming a group facilitator

Anybody can join a BPC group. After participating in a group, you can apply to be a peer facilitator. Peer facilitators participate in an online and in-person training at the beginning of the fall semester, co-lead a group for one or more semesters with staff support, and can opt to receive course credit. 

Read participant testimonials 

"I was a part of a Body Positive Group last semester. It helped me change my view of what it means to be healthy and what body positivity truly means." 

*  *  *

"I started the program as a member of the BPC group and after going through the program, I found that it help me plant a seed and start my journey toward self-love and self-acceptance. The program and different individuals have impacted me and I want to impact others the way I was impacted." 

*  *  *

"My desire to help others, and my real belief in the value of true self-care brings me to the curriculum. It's is both narrow enough to be effective in grappling with body image and wide enough to apply to a broader scope of mental health challenges. The positive effects of this program last well beyond the 8 weeks - I think there's so much wrong with society and starting to fix it with our own internalizations of society's messages is the exact right step."  

*  *  *

"As a facilitator, I have the opportunity to guide new members as they work through the curriculum. I present the core values and competencies of the Body Positive program, but my main job is to facilitate discussion among the group members. Part of what I love about this program is the fact that, in the group, the facilitators and the group members try to be on as level a field as possible. I also do the exercises and participate in discussion, I just provide some guidance in asking questions, tackling new concepts, or digging deeply into a particular line of thinking. By participating as well, I learn new perspectives and tools every time, and it's been really rewarding to see other peoples' areas of growth and breakthroughs over the course of the program." 

*  *  *

"I joined a Body Positive discussion group last semester to improve my relationship with my own body and really enjoyed the sessions. They gave me valuable knowledge and allowed me to think of body positivity in a different perspective than how I usually think of it. It also helped me feel more appreciative of the little things in life, and was always a refreshing part of my week!" 

*  *  *

“I participated in a BPC group my junior fall and absolutely loved the experience…Each person in my group was so kind, supportive, and understanding whenever I shared my stories. BPC genuinely provided us with a safe and respectful environment to discuss sensitive struggles that each member had gone through." 

*  *  *

"My role [as a facilitator] is to help spark the conversation about this material. Concepts like Health at Every Size and body positivity are not things one can ever truly master. We are all working on it, all the time. Thus, my role as a facilitator is not to be an expert, or somebody who has completed her journey. Rather, I want people to leave groups thinking about things they may never have otherwise. I want them to tackle some of these issues and challenge the ideas society throws at them…I want those in our groups to see and challenge those toxic beliefs that many people think to be truths." 

The BPC Club

The BPC Club is a student organization formed to foster community, coordinate outreach, and provide opportunities for students and staff to be actively involved in the ongoing promotion of body positivity outside of the 8-week BPC group sessions. Each semester, the club will host meetings to discuss topics related to body positivity and plan relevant events such as movie screenings, guest speaker presentations and student engagement campaigns. Any registered student of the Cornell University community who is interested in the mission and purpose of BPC is encouraged to become a member of the organization.

For more information:

BPC Community Talks

Peer leaders from BPC can talk to your group or community about body dissatisfaction, factors that impact body image, reclaiming health, body appreciation, and/or body acceptance. The 60- to 90-minute talks are discussion-based and interactive. Please send an email to jb2556@cornell.edu if you would like to schedule a BPC talk.

Contact Info

  • Please email the BPC Program Coordinator, Jennie Bernstein, PsyD if:
    • you have questions about joining an 8-week discussion group
    •  you would like to schedule a BPC talk
    • you have any other questions about Body Positive Cornell 
  • If you are interested in getting more involved in the Body Positive Club (see above), you can contact the club email at bodypositivecornell@gmail.com, or reach out to us on Instagram @bodypositivecornell