Senior landscape architecture student Andre Banerjee has been awarded an Emerging Scholars Fellowship. The Fellowship is a program of Active Minds, an organization with more than 400 campus chapters that promotes student advocacy in the mental health movement. The program provides an opportunity for college-aged scholars to complete funded, independent mental health projects and to be connected with a network of young scholars and national experts in the field of behavioral health.
Banerjee will use his education in landscape architecture as a framework for addressing mental health on college campuses. “I will focus on what specific types of outdoor spaces lead to higher levels of anxiety and fear, and how campus designers can evaluate how their designs may evoke these emotions in students,” Banerjee commented. His research will include conducting in-person interviews with students as well as counselors at Ohio State, along with on-site analysis and drawings to form a comprehensive understanding of how the built environment affects mental health on campuses.
Banerjee indicated his research evolved during autumn semester’s Directed Independent Research Seminar, which involved a comprehensive review of medical journals that dealt with mental health issues such as agoraphobia, and the research of Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, scholars specializing in environmental psychology. Banerjee will also incorporate data collected from the Send Silence Packing exhibit, hosted by the Ohio State chapter of Active Minds in October, which raised awareness about the incidence and impact of suicide at colleges.
At the conclusion of the spring semester, Banerjee will present his research and proposals to Knowlton School jurors and guests, with the option of an installation representing his work. “I do plan on having some type of public dissemination component in Knowlton,” he adds, “not only to synthesize and complete my Fellowship, but to give back to this school which has given me so many opportunities.”