Campus Plus promotes body positivity

Photo of Campus Plus Organization
Photo Courtesy: Elijah Avella (Avella Visuals)

Campus Plus, originally known as Plus Size Queens, is an organization on Florida A&M’s campus that works to promote self-love and body positivity among its members.

Aya Gillard and Theresa Ballard merged with Hampton and founded Campus Plus on Feb. 16, 2022, and since then, it has grown into a thriving community that values individuality and variety.

Ballard, a native of Chicago, shared the story behind the birth of Campus Plus.

“I honestly felt like there were no organizations on campus that accepted me the way I was,” Ballard said.

She also delved into the motivation behind founding the organization, recounting how she constantly received compliments from other plus-sized women who admired her confidence in wearing what she wore.

“I got looked at funny for my weight but respected for my hair and style,” Ballard said. “I needed a place to be inclusive, and I know other girls did, too.”

Dezira Love, a Miami native and construction engineering major, is president of Campus Plus. Love’s goal is clear: empowering others via body positivity and self-love.

“My experience with Campus Plus has been a beautiful journey full of growth,” Love said. “Although the group was quite small when I joined, the sisterhood was always strong.”

Despite its modest beginnings, love has led Campus Plus to great success by creating a welcoming atmosphere where participants may grow and embrace their individuality.

Campus Plus hosts various events encouraging self-discovery and healthy behaviors, from engaging photo sessions to thought-provoking speeches during the “cutie talks.”

Love highlights the organization’s unwavering commitment to offering a supporting sisterhood focused on self-love and acceptance, encouraging individuals thinking about joining to take the risk.

Kendall Johnson, the current Miss FAMU and a general health science major from Panama City, echoes Love’s beliefs.

Johnson says that joining Campus Plus helped her gain confidence as a plus-size woman on campus.

Her experience with the group has been one of empowerment and progress.

For Johnson, Campus Plus was more than simply a club — it was a pillar of confidence and support that influenced her time in college.

Johnson emphasizes Campus Plus’ importance in providing a haven where women of all sizes can unite and appreciate their bodies as the group grows and changes.

“I think anyone looking for a community based on body positivity and support from one another should think about joining Campus Plus,” she said.

As new organizations emerge at FAMU, they shape the campus into a more inclusive and positive environment. These organizations often bring fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to fostering diversity and acceptance on campus.

By creating spaces where students can come together to celebrate their differences, share their experiences, and support one another, these new organizations play a pivotal role in cultivating a sense of belonging and community among FAMU’s diverse student body.

Through their initiatives, events, and advocacy efforts, these organizations help challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and create a campus culture that embraces and celebrates the rich tapestry of identities and backgrounds in the FAMU community.

Campus Plus’ success as an organization ripples out, encouraging others to embrace their individuality and set out on a path of self-acceptance.