Naveen Mallangada wants everyone in Stony Brook to see his “heartbeats.”
Mallangada, a junior biology major, has created “HeartBeats of Stony Brook,” a mural project that will beautify the gray underpass that connects Stony Brook’s east hospital campus and its west undergraduate campus.
“My goal is to bring students around an idea and improve our campus not only for ourselves but for future Seawolves,” Mallangada said.
His design for the new tunnel is simple and revitalizing. Mallangada’s plan is to have students paint two hearts, one heart for each end of the underpass. A zigzag pattern will be featured underneath the underpass, resembling “heartbeats” and connecting the hearts of east and west campus. The zigzag pattern will also feature decals of the names of all the departments that Stony Brook has to offer. Mallangada said he made the design cubic and abstract to give more meaning to the heart and encourage interpretation.
Surprisingly, Mallangada has no professional background in art. He designed the entire project with Microsoft PowerPoint. Mallangada first thought of campus beautification projects after taking an art class as part of his honors college seminar. He said his teacher, Dr. Nobuhgo Nagasawa, emphasized how the most mundane aspects of our daily lives can have a huge impact on one’s thinking and that we have the ability to make our surroundings more dynamic and dimensional than they really are.
“A university should provide a environment that both encourages a happier and more focused mind rather than just doing your job,” Mallangada expressed.
“HeartBeats of Stony Brook” is Mallangada’s second planned art project this year. The Tabler Steps Piano Project was his first public art project and was completed this past spring.
Although “HeartBeats” has the unanimous support of USG and The Dean of Students Office, Mallangada currently needs at least 6,000 signatures to show that the majority of Stony Brook students are interested in this project so he can gain permission from Stony Brook Facilities and Services. So far, Mallangada has collected 2,000 signatures.
Students like Senior Alexa Goldstein, a health sciences major, and second year medical school student Elizabeth Olsen are excited about the project. Both said they used the tunnel everyday and that its look needs to be improved.
“I think it is a wonderful idea and will help to brighten up an area used by us each day,” Olsen said.
Once Mallangada gets permission, students will get a chance to help paint the mural. Mallangada strongly feels that students hold the responsibility to improve the look of the campus.
“It’s the students that built the campus. It’s not some 1,000-year old tradition, or a campus that was founded hundreds of years ago,” Mallangada said. “It should be its students that improves its environment, along with administration.”
Mallangada said the project isn’t just about beautifying the tunnel but showing how the east and west campuses are not separate entities. He hopes that the project can become the start of more collaboration between the two campuses, such as physics students doing research in the east campus hospital.
“Collaboration of people with different ideas can lead to greater innovations, so maybe this project can be a catalyst for newer ideas,” he said.