Students Get Creative at Annual Chalk-In

The stress-relief event is a colorful outlet for students during final exams.

Chalk-In 2014
Chair of the Department of Chemistry Michael King stands with students as they complete a chalk drawing of the periodic table for Chalk-In, the 34th annual stress relief event.
May 05, 2014

By Brittney Dunkins

The last of the late April showers dried up just in time for Chalk-In, a creative de-stress event held on Thursday on H Street between 21st and 22nd streets.

Hundreds of students showed off their inner artist with colorful chalk drawings at the 34th annual event, hosted in partnership with the University Counseling Center, Administration and Hallmark Programs, the Program Board and Greek Life.

“Chalk-In is a chance for the university community to come together and tap into our creative potential,” UCC Assistant Director of Outreach and Prevention Imran Riaz said. “We close down the street in front of Gelman Library, give out chalk to students, and they draw a picture or write a phrase that captures how they are feeling in the moment.”

For Marissa Salgado, a sophomore in the Elliott School of International Affairs, that meant drawing “bee happy,” a silly pun with a message of encouragement for her fellow students.

“Hopefully, somebody will walk by, see it and think it’s silly,” she said. “But they might also realize that no matter what happens during finals, there’s a reason to be happy.”

Other students chose to spread the word about their organizations through their drawings, like Claire August, the Green GW president-elect.

“We just finished a fabulous Earth Month celebration on campus, and I wanted to carry on that ‘green’ spirit,” Ms. August said.

GW swimming added waves to the concrete; members of the Southeast Asian Student Association tagged their initials; and Vice Provost and Dean Of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski stopped by to sketch his popular twitter handle, @GWPeterK.

“This has been a challenging semester for many of us at GW,” Dr. Konwerski said. “The brilliant, bold tapestry of images designed by the campus community this afternoon is evidence of the resilient spirit of our community.”

One of the largest drawings was a periodic table of elements created by students in the Department of Chemistry. Michael King, chair of the department, said that he encourages undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral students to take part in Chalk-In.

“The Division of Student Affairs asks us to come back every year to draw the table,” Dr. King said. “I think we are building a tradition.”

Students enjoyed face painting sponsored by Greek Life, blew bubbles on Kogan Plaza and received a free cupcake from Buzz Bakery when they tweeted a photo of their drawing to @GWPB, the Program Board Twitter handle.

Greek Life also sponsored a “What I Like About Myself” themed photo shoot, where students posed with a handmade signs featuring positive messages about themselves. Administration and Hallmark Programs distributed mini picture frames and canvases for students to take home. 

Another addition to the festivities was long sheets of bubble wrap for students to pop.

“If you’ve ever, as a kid, taken the bubble wrap out of packaging, you’ll remember that there is a relief in popping those bubbles,” Dr. Riaz said. “The students can come and stomp and make some noise.”

UCC staff members also handed out tips on sleeping well, studying for finals and a list of UCC services, so that students can have a safe and healthy final exam experience, Dr. Riaz said.

“When I woke up this morning, I was worried it might rain,” he said, as students filled Kogan Plaza and H Street. “But the sun is shining, and it looks like another successful year.”