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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Founders of the Green Bandana Brigade Reflect on Their Leadership in the Brigade


Behind every green bandana comes a story at Loyola University Maryland.  It is a symbol of support, mental health awareness, and unity. The Green Bandana Program was first launched at the university in 2020 and the founders are recent graduates Siena Pizzano, Cammi Galley, and Benjamin Hunt.  All three alumni were members of the University Innovation Fellows, which encourages students to take active roles in promoting change on their own college campuses. 

Pizzano originally found out about this project through the University of Wisconsin-Madison where two students put their heads together to create the Bandana Project. Through this project, students go through mental health training consisting of videos and role-play scenarios and then receive a bandana for their backpacks.  This bandana helps students identify these people as non-judgmental resources to speak with surrounding mental health.  The trio thought this program would be a great addition to campus. 

Pizzano said, “We kind of wanted to spin that and make it more Loyola-centered and so we created the Green Bandana Brigade where we partnered with the Counseling Center, and we used their Kognito training.  Once you complete that training, you get a certificate and you go to the Counseling Center where you would get the Green Bandana and resource cards, so it’s like a visual identification of de-stigmatizing mental health.”

Since The Green Bandana Brigade got its start during the pandemic, the program took a while to get on its feet. According to Pizzano, they struggled with receiving members initially.  However, she is happy to see the tables have turned and they have since built up more of a presence on campus. 

“It’s nice just walking around campus and seeing all the Green Bandana Brigade members and you can really see our impact,” Pizzano said. “Since we started during COVID, we didn’t really have that many people and now, it’s spread a lot more.”

The Counseling Center has been a huge part of spreading the word about the program.  Beyond just posters outside the Counseling Center, their staff is currently searching for even more ways to make the program’s presence known. Cammi Galley says they owe much of their success to the staff and specifically, Dr. Jason Parcover. 

“Our primary contact in the Counseling Center, Dr. Jason Parcover, he has been a huge advocate for us to help us get this on campus,” Galley said. “Getting the word out, getting the green bandanas out, seeing digital signage around campus…I would say for these reasons, it’s working out pretty well so far.”

Galley has high hopes for the future of the program to thrive long after they have graduated.  The trio has already advertised their program at basketball games and tabling events by Boulder, but Galley says she would love to see even more done with the program.  Specifically, she would like to see an event where students complete the Kognito training at the same time and in the same space.  Once the students complete the training, she would like to see a discussion take place as to why mental health is so important.

Galley said, “I would really like to hear, since I won’t be here, that they maybe have meetings about the Green Bandana Brigade, and that they end up holding more events for it on campus.” 

The three graduates spent some time searching for someone to take their position and found a current sophomore who is fit for the job. They chose this candidate because she was enthusiastic about the program and already very involved with it. Her name is Olivia Pare and we can expect to see her as the Green Bandana chair member on the Active Minds officer board this academic year.

Featured Image Courtesy of Michaela Chambers

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Founders of the Green Bandana Brigade Reflect on Their Leadership in the Brigade