Home Organization Student organizations disappointed with ‘Paint the Bridge’ ending – The Minnesota Daily

Student organizations disappointed with ‘Paint the Bridge’ ending – The Minnesota Daily


A year after the event officially ended, students are expressing nostalgia for what they consider important to campus culture and the promotion of their organizations.

A year after its official end in 2021, student organizations at the University of Minnesota have expressed disappointment that the annual “Paint the Bridge” event is no longer part of campus culture.

“Paint the Bridge” started at the University in 1997, offering student groups a unique way to promote their organizations and recruit new members.

Each September, student organizations received a sign to paint on the Washington Avenue Bridge. Students painted murals or symbols representing their organization for other students to see when passing between the east and west banks.

Last year, the SUA hosted the event in 2019, and they announced last year that it would not be returning. The bridge is now painted brown and gold.

“I’m really sad that he didn’t come back,” said Alexis Friesen, a fourth-year student at the University. “Each year you can see the different bands and the mark they leave on campus.”

Friesen is affiliated with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) and she participated in “Paint the Bridge” with the OCF in her freshman year. She said “Painting the Bridge” was one of the best ways to establish a campus presence for her organization.

“A poster is taken down, but when you paint the bridge, it’s there for the whole year,” Friesen said. “I remember every time I walked past that little sign [on the bridge]I felt really encouraged because we had this performance.

Friesen also pointed out that the bridge murals were a great way to show off specific small organizations that might appeal to students who didn’t know clubs existed for their unique hobbies and interests.

“Yeah that looks nice [painted over]but it doesn’t show what our student body really cares about and who they are,” Friesen said.

The University currently has over 1,000 student organizations.

“It’s kind of nice to see how diverse, broad, specific and expansive the U is,” Friesen said. “We may all have so many different interests, but we are all part of UMN.”

Alyssa Peterson and Anthony Vystoropski, co-chairs of the university’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chapter, said painting the bridge was a fond memory for them.

“It was just a really cool experience,” Peterson said. “Talking to other people who were at other clubs and hearing what they’re doing and getting to know people better within DECA.”

Peter Joncas, president of Minnesota Quidditch, said he would like to see “Paint the Bridge” return in the future. Although his team found other ways to educate students about the team, they miss the event and the unique method of promotion.

“We’ve used it to advertise our intramural program and big fundraising events, so not having it hurts a bit,” Joncas said. “It’s just a big event all around, you know, it really spiced up the bridge, made it a great walk.

Ongoing programming and events for student organizations include the Fall Activities Fair, Homecoming Parade and Spring Jam, SUA said in an email to the Minnesota Daily. SUA declined to comment on its decision to discontinue the “Paint the Bridge” event.

All of the students interviewed said that the paintings on the bridge were an important part of the culture on campus that new students to the University will no longer experience.

“Being a freshman, you don’t really know exactly what clubs there are and what’s on offer, so it was a really good way to show what the U had,” Vystoropski said. “For me, it gave me an idea of ​​the history of U.”

Peterson said when she visited the campus before she became a student, the tour guide pointed to the bridge as a way to experience what the University had to offer. She said she heard about one of the clubs she is now at when she saw him on the bridge that day.

“I think it helped create a sense of community, especially for freshmen,” Peterson said. “If they want to find a place to belong, that was a great way to start just by seeing the options available.”