The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU hosts first “Green Day” carnival

WSU student Jonah Oh partnered with ASWSU to throw the school’s first ever mental health carnival
Jonah Oh around the time he thought of the Green Day concept. Photo courtesy of Jonah Oh

Jonah Oh, junior criminal justice major and resident advisor, partnered with ASWSU to hold the university’s first ever “Green Day” carnival on April 11.

Green Day is a carnival held on campus that provides mental health resources and is meant to bring awareness to the subject. Oh said he first came up with the idea of Green Day two years ago during the spring semester of his freshman year at WSU.

“I was going through quite a bit around early April,” he said. “I had just ended a long-term relationship, I had just dealt with some family stuff and it was not going well for me mentally.”

For a few days, Oh did not go to class or see his friends, he said. He kept experiencing dark thoughts and he felt like he needed to fix something or do something. During his breakdown, Oh also shaved his hair off.

“I kept thinking ‘I’m feeling so blue right now, I’m feeling so blue right now, I don’t want to feel this way,’” he said. “I had this plethora of colorful make-up and my roommate had just come back and I told him ‘I’m tired of feeling blue, man … I pulled out this green face paint and I was like ‘I’m not going to feel blue, I’m going to feel green,’” 

Oh said he painted his face green, put on a green shirt and made his roommate come with him to the Market located inside the Einstein Bros. Bagels on campus to buy green things.

“We bought Apple Jacks in the green box, we bought green plastic containers, we bought green drinks and then I walked around the lounge areas of Scott-Coman, where I lived, just giving people green things,” he said. “Mainly for me, I wanted to make other people feel good and do something for other people and that made me feel better in the moment.”

Growing up in a Korean-Hispanic family, Oh said he was not used to talking about his mental health or asking other people for help. Although he had been visiting Counseling and Psychological Services he still felt awkward and uncomfortable talking about his mental health and reaching out for resources.

“After that breakdown, it really made me deal with my emotions and realize I need to take [my mental health] into my own hands,” he said. “So the next year, as an RA, I wanted to take what happened and actually try to build off of it.”

As an RA, Oh was able to put on a Green Day event for his residents at Scott-Coman Hall, which ended up being the largest event held in the hall’s history, he said. He hopes framing the event as a carnival where students can come to have fun will help destigmatize conversations surrounding mental health.

“My main goal is normalizing the conversation around mental health and passively educating people about it,” he said. “It’s all about just being in a place with these resources in your face and just taking it in passively.”

This year, Oh partnered with apartment coordinator David Navarro and Sebastian Sanders, ASWSU’s community affairs director, to put on a larger version of the Green Day carnival he held at Scott-Coman last year.

Sanders said he has been friends with Oh for a couple years already, but he had not known about the original Green Day when it happened two years ago. He first heard about Green Day from Oh last year, but he could tell that it was something he was passionate about.

“At first, it just sounded like something that Jonah was just having fun with,” he said. “But talking about it more, I began to realize why getting resources in such a non-daunting way is so important.”

Sanders said although the idea of Green Day has existed for two years, he sees this year’s event as a pilot, since it was the first time that it was hosted on such a large scale. He said he hopes that the event will be able to continue on after he and the rest of the Green Day team are graduated and that it can expand more into the vision that Oh had for it.

“It’s more resource-based than carnival-based and so I don’t really think it’s based in Jonah’s vision yet,” Sanders said. “But how I see it is I want it to get some legitimacy as a student-run mental health carnival.”

Sanders said this year’s Green Day event was just the first of many and he hopes the school will allow the event to expand and improve on a yearly basis.

Navarro, who met Oh while working as an RA at Streit-Perham Hall last year, said he first heard about Green Day when Oh hosted the event at Scott-Coman last year. Navarro has now been working on a committee with other members of ASWSU and Resident and Housing Life that helped in organizing the Green Day event on Thursday.

“I just hope it gets bigger and bigger, honestly,” he said. “I think it’d be so cool to see how many people we could reach just based on an idea that Jonah had on a whim. I’d just love to see how big it could get.”

Oh said he is currently working on getting Green Day established as an RSO so that the event can stay on campus as long as possible.

“I want this so badly to be an annual event, because I feel like it fills this hole we have at WSU of talking about mental health,” Oh said. “We are very serious here about mental health at WSU and that’s appropriate. We’ve gone through a lot recently and we need to have those conversations. But there is an aspect of going about those conversations in a more lighthearted, relaxed and normalizing way … I think what Green Day brings is really unique to what we have here at WSU.”

More to Discover
About the Contributor
MUSFIRAH KHAN, Evergreen reporter
Musfirah Khan is a junior from Seattle, Washington studying multimedia journalism. She started working for the Evergreen in spring 2023.