Proud2Bme | Why I Walk: NEDA Walks Bring Eating Disorders Awareness to College Campuses

  • News & Inspiration
  • Activism

Why I Walk: NEDA Walks Bring Eating Disorders Awareness to College Campuses

Michael Dietz is a 21-year-old  rising senior, a member of William and Mary College's NCAA Division 1 men's gymnastics team and he serves as a representative on the student-athlete council. He was also the director and coordinator of the NEDA Walk on his college campus in Williamsburg, VA. We asked Michael to share his tips for college students who want to bring a NEDA Walk to their schools!

Proud2Bme: How did you first get involved with raising funds and eating disorder awareness on your campus through NEDA Walks?

Michael: From the beginning of Williamsburg's walk, the men's gymnastics team has been involved in running it. My sophomore year, I was the director of the fundraising aspect of the event, while my teammate was the walk coordinator. He graduated that year, so I took over for the 2013 walk. 

P: What was the process for organizing the walk? 

M: I worked with NEDA's national walk manager to put the walk together. I scheduled the event and I was able to reach out to the campus and community to promote it, gain sponsorships and involvement, and put it all together. With help from my team, as well as the women's gymnastics team (and other sports and organizations at W&M), last year was very successful, and I'm glad we could do our best for NEDA.

The athletic department and Greek life were heavily involved with promoting the event around campus through fliers and word of mouth. The Department of Health and Wellness was extremely helpful with fundraising and granting people the opportunity to register. The Student Rec Center allowed us to use the campus as the venue, and to set up using their materials. Members of both the men's and women's gymnastics teams worked hard to gain sponsorships from local businesses and promote the walk outside of campus. It was a team effort, and I'm so grateful for all of the help and enthusiasm they all gave toward the walk.

P: What are some of the personal rewards of heading up a NEDA WAlk?

MIt was amazing that a large community would come together to raise awareness of NEDA and their mission. The involvement and participation was more than I could have hoped for, and we reached (and passed) our financial goal. After the walk, people from other towns came up to me and asked how they can coordinate a walk where they live. That was so rewarding to hear from them.

P: You are a busy guy! What advice would you offer to other time crunched students who care about the cause and want to bring a NEDA Walk to their schools?

M: When school/sport/jobs are time consuming aspects of your day, it takes a lot of time management and hard work to direct a walk. Be sure to spread the word as much as possible, and accept any help. It is a team effort, and keep reminding yourself why you are doing this. All the hard work is worth it when you remember NEDA's mission!

Want to find out how you can organize a NEDA Walk on your campus? Start here!

Facebook discussion

get help


About Us

Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.