Peers seek to promote positivity, self-worth

Taylor Jennings, a junior in the College of Business Administration, wanted to find a way to reach out to others and spread the importance of self love, positivity and acceptance. She got together with five close friends last semester to discuss how to make her vision a reality.

The group formed Love the Skin You’re In, an organization on campus that aims to inspire people to celebrate who they are. Meetings are hosted every two weeks Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in AMU room 256.

“There needs to be more attention and awareness brought to these (self-esteem) issues,” Jennings said. “As we shed light on subjects like these we can create space for change, healing and solutions.”

Diana Perillo, a junior in the College of Health Sciences and the organization’s secretary, wanted the club to be a safe place for students to talk about what they are struggling with.

“We try to foster communication and connect with these people on a deeper level,” Perillo said.

The club is not exclusive to student membership; instead, any member of the Marquette community can join. The more diverse membership is, the more of an open dialogue people can have.

The club aims to break down stigmas, tackle social taboos and show everyone how to embrace the uniqueness they all have as individuals.

According to Perillo, the social messages heard today are often judgmental and critical, and sometimes it’s hard to feel optimistic and motivated to keep going and reach one’s goals. The club focuses on beauty in vulnerability and one’s flaws. Members want to spread a message of self love to others.

Perillo has a personal connection to this club and their mission of love and acceptance. She struggled with and overcame an eating disorder last year and attributed an unbeatable spirit and a strong support system as the main components to her recovery. She said there is power in knowing that people are there for you. She said she embraces passion for life and hopes to inspire new club members.

As the president of Love the Skin You’re In, Jennings plans different activities each week that reinforce members’ purposes, fulfill their goals and allow communication with others.

While the club works with members on a peer level, they acknowledged that there are some things beyond their control.

“We have a direct link with (the Marquette University Counseling Center) and so if there is someone struggling on a little bit more of a deeper level, we have someone we can go directly to,” Jennings said.

Katie Berlin, a junior in the Arts & Sciences, said she looks forward to attending future meetings and hopes to learn more about what the organization stands for. She said she already understands the importance of being confident in one’s skin.

“It’s the only skin you have, and you have nothing to gain by not loving the skin you’re in,” Berlin said.

While Berlin has a grasp on this concept, Jennings said the organization hopes to spread the message to a wider population.

“(We can) make the world better starting with (ourselves) and spread(ing) that radiant positivity everywhere,” Jennings said.