More than a number: UK students celebrate body positivity at Smash Scale event


Maria Rauh

Students smash scales during a student wellness event, Scale Smash, in the William T. Young Library Walkway at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, on Oct. 19, 2022. Photo by Maria Rauh | Staff

Sadie Nierzwicki, Reporter

UK Panhellenic Council and UK Prevention, Outreach, and Wellness Education Resources (POWER) hosted the fifth annual “Smash Scale” event to bring awareness to body positivity on Oct. 19.

At the event, which took place on the William T. Young walkway, students, faculty and other members of the UK community wrote a message on a bathroom scale and then smashed it. This event began with the purpose to remind students that their worth is not dependent on the number on a scale.

Shannon Winke, who hosted Smash Scale, is a registered dietician at UK. Her work is aimed at helping students recover from eating disorders. She started Smash the Scale five years ago to remind students of their worth. Winke said this event means a lot to her because it helps students recognize that all bodies are good bodies.

“Our college students are at high risk for body image struggles, and we are trying to support people with body issues and tell them their weight does not equal their worth,” Winke said. “This event helps students going through body image issues by recognizing all bodies are good bodies, and it helps get resources on where to go if you are currently struggling from these issues.”

The event had colorful markers to write powerful messages on scales and loud pop music to create a positive ambiance. As students were walking to class, the library or any other destination, they stopped by to take a look at this event.

Abebola Adeyeye, a first-year graduate student and womens basketball player, said she felt it important for students to know weight looks different on everyone.

“I came to this event because this was something new that I didn’t know about, and I feel like promoting body health isn’t talked about,” Adeyeye said. “One message I really gain from this event is to screw the scale. This event helped me gain a new understanding, because I feel like being an athlete, a lot of times our sport is concerned with our weight.”

Students enjoyed not only getting free T-shirts, keychains and laptop stickers, but they also appreciated the effort and meaning regarding the health of the students. Attendees said knowing that the university is supporting positive body image is important to many members of the UK community.

“I decided to come to this event because I was walking by and I heard loud music and wanted to see what it was about,” student Liza Harris said. “I had no idea that this event was going on, but I am so glad that I had stopped and checked it out.”

Harris said she appreciated how students came together to support a great message, which ultimately helps the student body connect over similar issues.

“As a woman, I feel compelled to pay attention to how much I weigh and especially compare that to people around me,” Harris said. “This event was a reminder that everyone is beautiful and healthy in their own way, and that a scale cannot actually define how healthy you are.”