Three student organizations gathered in Blum Student Union on Feb. 17 to paint a mural in honor of Western’s international community.
The Griffon Art Society, Student Government Association and International Student Services all teamed up to paint flags inside the word “ONE” along the west entrance to Blum.
Alison Norris, SGA director of communications, helped organize and gather funds for the mural.
“I was trying to think of a location on campus to do a mural because I thought that if we got more murals on campus it would make our university more pleasing to the eyes,” Norris said. “After we got the location I began to think, ‘What is this mural going really be about?’”
Norris said earlier in the year that SGA wanted to get flags for all the international students. Instead of this plan, Norris approached Brandon Paxton, president of the Griffon Art Society.
Paxton said that the mural fit 230 flags in the letters ‘O-N-E.’
“We’re trying to get as many international students as we can to paint their home country’s flag,” Paxton said. “Some are painting two or three flags. It seems like they’re having a good time.”
Paxton said the goal was to represent Western’s international community with the mural.
“I think we’re going to get a good representation,” Paxton said. “It’s not going to be a perfect representation; there will still be some flags that will unfortunately be left off.”
International Student Coordinator Huey Shi Chew said that 15 countries are represented at Missouri Western with 36 students from outside of the United States.
“We have grown every year, just like the university has grown overall,” Chew said.
Chew said she hopes the mural brings a oneness to Western even though so many countries are represented.
“I think it creates a sense of acceptance when,” Chew said. “When [international students] see this mural I think they will feel that ‘Yeah, this place accepts me and I am one of them.’”
Vice President of Student Affairs Esther Peralez visited with students while they painted the mural.
“One of the President’s goals is to internationalize and diversify our campus,” Peralez said. “You can do it in many ways, you can bring students in but that doesn’t look good enough. But you start changing the campus so it’s reflective of the students.”
Peralez wanted to paint the flag of Mexico, where her parents are from. By the end of the day someone had already painted Mexico.