NORTH NEWTON — As Bethel College’s academic year wound down, an observant visitor to campus May 15 might have found graduating senior Jesus “Chuy” Alba, of Dallas, in a somewhat precarious position.
Alba was perched on a scaffolding on the north side of Haury Hall, creating a small mural representing the Class of 2019.
The mural idea originated with Lil Padro, a senior from Miami and an assistant in the Office of Student Life.
“I (had) heard of students wanting a mural or some representation of school spirit (on) campus,” Padro said. “I liked the idea of a mural, so I decided to start talking to people and artists around campus to see if it was something that the majority wanted, not only a select few.
“I felt that a mural is something that could last and be symbol of the senior class.”
Padro first talked with administrators — Bethel President Jon Gering and Vice President for Student Life Samuel Haynes. They responded positively, but told her she needed to get the Student Government Association (SGA) on board.
Padro’s vision was that creating and adding a new mural each year would become a tradition, so she needed to “pass a bill” within SGA. She developed a proposal that included a detailed timeline and budget.
The Student Senate passed Padro’s bill, but the student body president vetoed it.
“He felt that students did not have enough time to contact their senators and tell them their opinions,” Padro said.
However, by the next SGA meeting, enough students had spoken in support of the mural bill that the Student Senate could override the president’s veto, which they did in a unanimous vote.
As Padro was looking for funding for the project, she approached the Bethel College Alumni Association, which was receptive — “Great thanks to them,” Padro said.
In future years, Student Activities and Engagement (within Student Life) and SGA are also signed on for financial support.
Alba has done mural-like work before. He came up with a design proposal, which he then had Padro, some other students and associate professor of visual art and design Rachel Epp Buller comment on.
“The plan is for this to continue throughout Bethel history,” Padro said. “It will continue to be a mural representing the graduating senior class."
“My hope is that during their class reunions, everyone is able to go back and look at the mural that they made to represent them here at Bethel.”