Sandy Geller, coordinator of art therapy at George Washington University's counseling center, says two professional dance therapists will lead a mass dance of students next week "to celebrate the beginning of the school year . . . in a kind of traditional format of a rite of welcome using group movement and dance." The event is called a Move'In. Explains Geller: "We have something in the spring called a Chalk-In. That's a time when the counseling center staff passes out large poster chalks to students, giving them an opportunity to express their end-of-semester blues and bliss on the library courtyard." Chalk-Ins have been held for three years. "It's very colorful, if you can imagine 500 students turning the courtyard into a burst of color . . . and benign graffiti. There's really something involved in people making their mark. I think that we all want to make our mark in the world, and to be given permission to do this is sort of an affirmation of self, particularly at a time of high stress such as final exam week, which is when the Chalk-In takes place."
The Move'In is a new idea. Geller says students will be invited "to join in improvisational dance and movement. I envision circles and lines winding their way through the library courtyard." Art therapy is the coming thing, Geller says. "Students can come in to the counseling center and work through their problems and concerns through verbal therapy , or they can choose art therapy. You would come to me and express . . . in drawings, clay or painting . . . what your concerns are. Is it a relationship you wanted to get out of, or problems with your roommate? Or more serious problems: a dying parent, anorexia . . ." Geller says her staff will visit the university hospital and do an " 'art break' to let medical students release tension in a creative spirit. We do it in the dormitories, too. Its something that just seems to be mushrooming and every year we do a little bit more.