Let’s be honest, being yourself isn’t always easy. It’s even harder when you feel like people are judging you. Junior Heather Erhard knows first-hand what that feels like after she was bullied in East dining commons. A worker made a disrespectful remark about the way she looked and from that one hurtful comment, she was inspired to make a change. She founded Penn State’s new club Operation Beautiful in November.
Being a Resident Assistant on campus, Erhard initially wanted to talk to the girls on her floor. Her message was strong– to make sure the girls knew it was OK to be themselves and feel beautiful no matter what anyone said. Unexpectedly, word about what Erhard was doing grew and she was told about Operation Beautiful, a nation-wide movement to end self-image negativity.
Then, Erhard requested permission from Operational Beautiful and Penn State to start a chapter on campus. After receiving permission from both, the Operational Beautiful club was formed. Amazingly, it took about three days for all of this to happen. Now, the club has about 20 dedicated members and many more who want to help.
“Everyone has something they don’t like about themselves,” says Erhard. “We’re hoping to let people shine and focus on what makes them beautiful on the inside.”
If you have seen post-its around on campus with “You are beautiful!” written on them, you can thank the Operation Beautiful club. It’s one of the many projects to come from them. They want people to feel good and be confident in the body they’re in.
It may seem like the club is only for girls because of the name, but Erhard wants everyone to know that’s not true. “I know it sounds girly, but we want it to be everyone. We want everyone to feel good about themselves.”
If you are interested in becoming a part of the movement, contact Heather Erhard at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Photos provided by Heather Erhard