WSU Folding Origami Birds for Mental Health Awareness

OGDEN, Utah – Thousands of origami birds are flying around Weber State University, both in Ogden and Layton, spreading the message of hope and long life during October’s Mental Health Awareness Month.  

The winged origami will be on display during Weber State’s Mental Health Day, Oct. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the Shepherd Union Atrium.

Called “Wings of Hope,” the origami project took off and spread quickly after Counseling & Psychological Services Center Outreach Coordinator, Tami Robinette, had the idea. She originally hoped 20 or 30 people would participate and donate cranes and other birds for display, but so far, the counseling center has distributed 5,000 sheets of origami paper, and groups are contributing supplies of their own.

“It feels great to be part of something that encourages and uplifts,” Robinette said. “Participants experience success with each crane completed. Students and staff master the folding in just a few tries, and in two or three minutes, a crane emerges from where there was only a flat piece of paper. Success in minutes. How often do students get to feel that in college?”

The birds are flying in almost every department in the Student Services Center and in other locations around the Ogden and Layton campuses. Career Services has made it a competition to fold and display 1,000 birds. The Cashier’s Office has more than 200. The Student Success Center, Tutoring Services, Study Abroad, Student Involvement and Leadership, Center for Community Engaged Learning, the Information Desk, Stewart Library, Lindquist Hall, Swenson Gymnasium and of course the counseling center all have cranes, birds, hearts and even bats hanging up.

“Weber State University Police Department donated over 180 origami hearts and cranes to the counseling center,” Robinette said. “Weber State sororities and the Admission’s Office participated. Oh, and Housing and Residence Life took 100 papers and plan to buy 500 more on their own. Students are having a blast. There isn't a planned folding party; students are just doing it when they can.”

Mental Health Day

A display of the origami will be part of Mental Health Day, Oct. 22.  The counseling center and other campus groups will offer tips and activities to help participants learn how to relax, manage stress and find mental health resources on campus. Planned activities include therapy dogs, stress balls, mandala rock art, coloring pages and more.

With all aspects of mental health, the counseling center is taking a multi-prong approach in order to reach as many students as possible in a variety of ways to reduce stress and offer hope.

“People really are connecting to the message of hope,” Robinette said. “It feels great to be part of something that encourages and uplifts. That is the total message behind the origami project.”

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Allison Barlow Hess, Public Relations director
801-626-7948 •


Allison Barlow Hess, Public Relations director
801-626-7948 •