The Bandana Project at Villanova

Andrew Gins, Staff Writer

The Bandana Project kicked off its first general body meeting of 2022 on Feb. 9. The organization, known for distributing the green bandanas seen on the backpacks of many Villanova students, aims to raise awareness for mental health. 


Members of the group tie green bandanas on their backpacks to signal their solidarity with those struggling with mental health. They help direct others to seek the appropriate resources by carrying cards detailing how to contact national, state and campus mental health and suicide prevention resources. 


Ultimately, the Bandana Project aims to end the stigma surrounding seeking help. The bandanas are visible across campus, and they serve as a constant reminder to students that they are not alone. 


With the recent celebration of Valentine’s Day, the group discussed identifying signs of unhealthy relationships. Members also participated in anonymous surveys, which helped further illuminate the necessity of the work done by the group. 


While most students responded saying they struggled with their mental health at one point, another survey showed that most people did not seek help when needed. Stigma, cost and waiting times at the counseling center comprised the main barriers to access. 


Towards the end of the meeting, the club discussed conducting more consistent bi-weekly meetings and setting up events for members to get even more involved. 


“Right now, the green bandanas serve as a visual symbol of support for those that are struggling with their mental health,” Events Coordinator Jack Garvey said. “We are aiming to partner with charities to bring more resources to Villanova, planning to facilitate small group discussions between students and administration to talk about mental health on campus and organizing other mental health-focused events to support students. Our goal is to work toward de-stigmatizing the mental health resources that are so important and improve accessibility to those resources on campus.” 


Mental illness awareness has garnered more attention recently, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


College students generally face a lot of pressure in many parts of their lives as they balance their academic, social and professional endeavors, leading many young adults to neglect their mental health and experience burnout.


The project’s vision, combined with its grassroots approach to fighting stigma and raising recognition for the issue, will undoubtedly help advance its mission to alleviate the struggles many students face in the hopes that one day, all Villanovans can ask for help when needed without fear of judgment.