SGA Gives Hawks a Chance to Paint Together

The Rebecca Stafford Student Center Welcomes a Mural Painted by Students

muralA new mural painted by University students will soon add a splash of color to the walls of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center dining area.

The Student Government Association (SGA) conceived the mural idea, and with the help of a local artist, the painting evolved into a representation of the University community and the concept of working together.

SGA devised a project where everyone on campus could participate and be a part of its creation, according to Heather Kelly, assistant director of student activities for multicultural and diversity initiatives. “[The mural] could be designed by students and employees at Monmouth University but be painted by the whole of Monmouth University,” Kelly said.

The mural depicts a colorful sunset spread across three canvases with a larger one as the centerpiece. “The mural itself is going to be a depiction of a beach at sunset and hawks flying together off into the distance,” Kelly explained.

Students painted in ten minute intervals near the fireplace in the Student Center dining room. Painting was scheduled for February 27 and 28 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The sign-up sheet was booked solid. Kelly added that groups of ten to 20 students simply showed up throughout the day and got in on the painting. Usually five students would work at a time on the mural.

Andrew Herzer, a business major who helped render the design, plans to add the hawks and final touches to the finished product. With colorfully stained sweatpants, Herzer showed a passion for art and directed students in how to apply the paint to the canvas. Dark blues and purples laid a deep contrast against the golden yellow and orange hues. An intricate web of artistic design forms a border around the sunset providing a dark frame for the array of color. SGA brought the idea to Herzer and they worked together to develop the final concept of the mural.

“I think it’s really cool how they’re getting everyone involved,” Herzer said. “I really was impressed with the turnout.” A full-time student and working artist, Herzer added that the painting turned out better than he expected.

With her blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail and a white smock protecting her clothes, Alexa Gentempo, sophomore business major, carefully applied a deep purple to the canvas.

“I like being artistic,” she said. “I like how this is supervised.” A commuter student, Gentempo appreciated that she could get involved with the mural during a break between classes. “I like being a part of something at Monmouth,” she added. Describing the painting as “beautiful,” Gentempo explained that she spends a lot of time in the Student Center. “This is a good location for this. We need something like that in here.”

After carefully working with the paint, Gentempo stepped back with a bright smile, “I’m impressed with myself,” she laughed. “I did a pretty good job.”

Once the painting is ready for display, SGA plans to schedule an unveiling ceremony to officially reveal the University project. There will be a plaque placed next to it giving credit to the different clubs and organizations that contributed to the mural. The west wall in the dining area of the student center will be the permanent home for the painting once the final touches are complete.

“It’s (the mural) just another part of our mantra,” Kelly said. “It’s a symbol of our togetherness.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Michelle A. Callas