July 24, 2017

Students chalk the quad with positive messages post-election

After Republican candidate Donald Trump prevailed in the presidential election, some Webster University students wanted to find a way to overcome their negative feelings about the results. They decided to leave a positive mark on the campus with chalk.

Students wrote and painted with positive messages at the circle between Sverdrup and the Emerson Library November 9. Webster College Democrat Megan Price and Student Ambassador President Jared Campbell hosted the event.

Student Kara Overlien brings "empathy" to campus / Photo by Yue Zhang

Student Kara Overlien brings “empathy” to campus / Photo by Yue Zhang

Campbell said he felt devastated when he learned Trump had defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. As he drove back to campus from a viewing party, the thought of chalking came to his mind.

“I can go back to my apartment and be upset and hurt and devastated, or I can do something and I chose to do something,” Campbell said.

“Students wanted to use a unique and creative way to express how they are feeling right now and how they can move through and move on,” Associate Dean of Students John Buck said. “Things like this perpetuate students talking about civic issues, national issues and political issues.”

Buck also invited Carol Hodson, a Webster art professor and therapist for the Counseling and Life Development, to participate in the event.

Hodson, who has taught college students for 26 years, said she knows the age group well. She stressed the importance for students disappointed by the election to open up and reach out to others.

“Be sad if you are sad. Be mad if you are mad,” Hodson said.

Hodson spent about an hour at the chalking event with students. Webster Counseling Services has also planned other group counseling sessions later in the week which will utilize visual art, drama, poetry, music and conversations to help students deal with political concerns. They will take place Thursday at 2 p.m. and Friday at 1 p.m. at the Health Services building.

Hodson said she liked the symbolism of the many colors students used in their chalk art.

“We rely so much on words, and simple symbols like donkeys and elephants, simple color like read and blue, and that tends to create black and white,” Hodson said. “When we looked at the electoral map, and saw that was dominantly one single color, we can really recognize that there needs to be more range of colors.”

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