Shining a Spotlight on diversity

Shining a Spotlight on diversity
Proposed Campus Center Mural.jpg

Anthony Correra
Associated Students of Whittier College (ASWC) Vice President Elect, second-year Kole Joachim, is leading a project to create a mural located just outside of The Spot with the goal to capture the different identities on campus while involving student input from different organizations on campus. 

 In an initial survey from the student body, Joachim claimed that most of the feedback he received from students was favorable. “The overall reception of the mural has been very positive. The initial survey was sent out via the students email on April 18 and has received a total of 56 replies. A five-point scale assessing the quality of the mural was included on the survey; of the 56 responses, the averaged value of the 56 responses yielded a four in terms of overall quality as assessed by the students,” Joachim wrote in an email to the QC.

Initial support for the mural started with ASWC, Diversity Council, Social Justice Coalition, and the first-year Class Council also announcing that they will contribute to the payment of the mural after the initial request for feedback from the student body.

“Since the location of the mural has been moved to the side of The Spot, the idea to have one segment of the mural left blank has been discussed. The purpose would be to have incoming classes contribute to the blank section every year during orientation. Every year, the section would be repainted, allowing for the next class to leave their mark on the mural. Discussions of this idea have just been started, and such an idea would need approval from the College before being pursued,” wrote Joachim. Initial plans were to have an outside source come in and complete the project for safety reasons. “The original idea was to have the mural painted on the side of the library. Such a project required the use of a boom lift. For that reason, we reached out to Hattas Public Murals, a professional company capable of completing such a job,” said Joachim. 

Since the first image of the mural, an updated picture of the mural was created for students who felt some issues from the first mural were left out. The updated mural, which can be found on the ASWC Twitter, contains segments representing athletics, sustainability, and women empowerment.  The mural is still in its initial stages of development. “The mural’s design is subject to change and by no means is representative of the finished product. The theme, color, and portrayals may change dependent upon student feedback,” said Joachim.

During the ASWC Senate meeting on April 29, Joachim brought up the mural project and gave its budget so far. “Originally, the mural was going to cost about $9,000,” said Joachim in an ASWC Senate tweet. “The mural costs $10,050 plus an additional $900 for a coating to provide protective coating to protect the mural from natural elements. When I originally drafted the funding requests . . . I did take into consideration the gender equity center and wanted to be conscious of that when funding this mural.” 

Third-year Melissa Johnson gave her thoughts on the mural project. “I like the idea of it. I think what they’re trying to do for inclusivity is really important.” Fourth-year Julissa del Rio also shared her thoughts on the mural to the QC. “I definitely do like the idea of having a mural. I feel that we need something else to attract more students, but it seems too bright, too out-of-place to have it there … I feel it would look better if we had it next to the athletics or next to a path so parents from other places can come and see it.”