As part of a new Students’ Association (SA) initiative, students should start seeing encouraging messages painted on the ground around campus.

The catch? They’ll only be visible when the ground is wet.

During Meliora Weekend, a team of SA volunteers sprayed hydrophobic paint designs on the footbridge to Brooks Crossing and on the nearby sidewalk and street.

The designs provide students with uplifting messages, such as “be happy.”

The paint works by preventing water from getting the concrete wet and lasts approximately two to four months.

The concept stems from the deep concern SA President Vito Martino and Vice President Lance Floto, both seniors, have for mental health across campus.

“It was a key point in our campaign last spring,” Floto said. “Last year, over 1,000 students went through [the University Counseling Center]. It is a very prevalent issue, but it’s not talked about.”

The project, named the “Weliora Campaign,” has two phases. The first, testing, occurred over Meliora Weekend.

Phase two, which will begin later in October, has three components. The first is further spraying of six hydrophobic-paint messages around campus. The second part is a photo campaign in which students can write messages on how they’ve struggled with issues such as depression. The project will culminate with a banner outside of Starbucks.

Testing hasn’t been without its own difficulties, however.

One of the biggest issues faced was dirty surfaces. Floto pointed out at one of the test sites that painting on a dirty ground would cause the images to be scarcely visible.

“We see where we can improve, the mistakes we made,” Floto said. “But that’s the point of testing.”

SA has been able to mobilize a fairly large group to work on the project. Both Creative Arts and Active Minds have expressed support for and interest in participating in the campaign. Some SA members have set aside time to help the Weliora Campaign flourish.

“I jumped on the opportunity to be involved because I believe that all students should know this information in order for us all to combat it,” freshman Senator Kamel Awayda said. “I invite all those who are struggling with or have overcome a mental health condition to aid us in spreading awareness.”

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