Our project began as a response to the growing campus issue of mental health awareness, especially in light of a recent wave of suicides. So, we asked ourselves: How can we foster more spontaneous social interactions between Columbia students through the activation of underused public spaces on campus? In moving forward with this question, we targeted the Van Am Quad and worked with the Office of Undergraduate Life to put on an event. After receiving a Wellness Week grant, we co-ordinated several student performing groups and purchased treats to give away. We didn't tell anyone about the event and spontaneously put it on during the very popular and busy dinner hour. The event was extremely well-received and we felt as if it adequately fostered interpersonal connection between many students in a casual setting. We are looking forward to working with the administration in the future based on the success of this event. We will be exploring and implementing casual design for residence halls, as well as looking into putting on more events of this nature.

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