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Saturday, April 20, 2024

New mural centered around mental health installed in the CoHo

“Murals for Mental Health” was a collaborative project between Aggie Mental Health and Aggies Helping Aggies to raise mental health advocacy 


By RAGAVI GOYAL — campus@theaggie.org 


During winter break, the ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo) was retouched through the installation of a new mural as part of the Aggie Mental Health campaign. The design selected for the mural was illustrated by Nicole Paja. 

“Murals for Mental Health” was a collaboration between Aggie Mental Health and the UC Davis Student Foundation (Aggies Helping Aggies). It first began as the UC Davis 2023 senior class challenge, allowing graduating students to donate towards a mural to leave their mark on campus and promote mental health advocacy. 

Shannon Yi, a fourth-year food science major and President of Aggies Helping Aggies, said that the mural serves as the connection between art and mental health. 

“Looking at art can make you feel better and hopefully affect your mental health in a positive way,” Yi said. “This is where we came about with the idea for the mural and then we started crowdfunding for it.”

Other fundraising for this senior class challenge came from tabling, gifts from students, alumni and graduations and presentations for the Davis Foundation Board, a board of trustees that funds philanthropic initiatives, according to Yi. Aggies Helping Aggies also applied for several grants to paint the mural.

“We were also able to partner with student affairs in Aggie Mental Health and the Aggie Arts Committee to get this mural funded because of crowdfunding,” Yi said. 

In order to generate student involvement and representation in the mural, Aggies Helping Aggies held a design contest for the mural. The contest was held in sections, where the first round asked for students’ visions and the second round had them submit their designs. 

According to Sydney Holmes, a UC Davis mental health promotion specialist associated with Aggie Mental Health, the Aggie Arts Committee became involved in helping choose a student design to be featured on the mural, 

 “The Aggie Arts Committee played a big role in presenting the [final] idea and coming up with the idea, and us as a whole group moved it forward over time to eventually get it installed,” Holmes said. 

Holmes said that the mural fits into the CoHo space very well. 

“I think it’s really cool to highlight that the artist, Nicole [Paja], did an amazing job of really bringing the CoHo theme into it with the coffee and the mental health aspect of it,” Holmes said. “[Paja] just made it a really inviting piece of artwork that will hopefully impact students for a long time.”

The mural is filled with speech bubbles containing conversation starters related to mental health, according to Yi. The wall also has painted coffee mugs and cups on it to fit in with the theme of the CoHo. 

“[It’s] just overall very pleasant to look at, and we hope that when people do get to view the mural, it serves as a reminder for them to check on their peers and their friends regarding their mental health,” Yi said. “We hope that this is a way for students to be reminded that their mental health matters too. Not only students, the entire UC Davis community.” 


Written by: Ragavi Goyal — campus@theaggie.org 



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