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Chalk the Walk event

A group of students work on their contributions to the chalk-the-walk program outside of the Mary Jo Brandimore dorms. Vanguard Photographer | Ryan Pelletier

On Wednesday Oct. 13, the sidewalks outside of the MJ Brandimore House were filled with colorful chalk art creations.

The display was all part of a Chalk the Walk event coordinated by the SVSU Program Board in collaboration with Active Minds, Optimistic Club and Cards Trading Cards for home- coming week.

Business sophomore Andrea Grifka is a senior event planner for the Program Board. She said she was inspired to organize Chalk the Walk after attending a similar event and recognizing

“the constant need for students to focus on their own mental health.”

Active Minds is an RSO dedicated to spreading mental health awareness on campus in an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.

Psychology senior Anna Grattan is the president of Active Minds. She detailed the role of her RSO in the event.

“Active Minds (was) there with resources, club information, and buttons and magnets for sale to promote our organization,” Grattan said. “After visiting our table, (students could) enter the raffle to win our basket. Attendees (could) also get some sidewalk chalk from the Rotunda and decorate a square on the sidewalk outside. Active Minds (made) one too.”

RSO members and other students used this opportunity to show their creativi- ty while expressing themselves through chalk art.

Locally, events like The Bay City Chalk Walk hosted annually by Studio 23 Art Gallery have helped to promote the art form.

Graphic design senior Joanna Nauman is the president of Cards Trading Cards. She said that there are definite correlations be- tween creative outlets and mental health.

“I believe the inspiration for this event came from wanting to show the connection and positive effects that art can have on mental health,” Nauman said. “With Cards Trading Cards being one of SVSU’S art clubs, where we make art and trade it each month, we were asked to join this event to help share information about our club, and to have our members spread positive messages on campus through a simple yet effective art form [of] chalk drawing.”

In further promoting mental health awareness, Active Minds has plans for an upcoming event called The Empty Chair Display. Taking place in Groening Commons on Oct.21 from 9AM to 4PM, Grattan said the goal of the event is to put an image on the reality of suicide.

“It is an event we try to do every year for suicide awareness,” Grattan said. “Chairs will be set up with statistics, ways to help, survivor stories, and warning signs all regarding suicidality. Each chair represents 55 students lost on college campuses in the U.S. to suicide every year, totaling in 20 chairs, or 1,100 students.”

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