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Oklahoma State University

Leaving Their Mark

OSU Students use Their Handprints on a Mural

Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business was facing a challenge when its classrooms were closed in December. With the school’s five classrooms due to be torn down this spring as work begins on a new $76 million Business Building, how were Spears School faculty and staff going to stay engaged when students had limited reasons to come to the building?

The answer appeared literally right before Spears School officials’ eyes when construction crews built a new 16.5-by-10-foot wall in the lobby of the Business Building to prepare for the demolition of the longtime classrooms.

The blank wall led to discussions on how to best use it. A mural of the new Business Building was the overwhelming choice for the wall, allowing all who walk through the lobby a view of what to expect when construction is completed in early 2018.

But this wasn’t going to be just another mural painted by a professional. Spears School students, faculty and staff participated in painting the mural — one handprint at a time — during a two-day period in late March.

“Our goal was to make this more than just the painting of a mural but an event that would bring the Spears School community together,” says Ken Eastman, dean of the Spears School.

Using social media and the hashtag, #SpearsLeaveYourMark, the school’s Marketing and Communications staff reached out to the student body, with the assistance of the Business Student Council. The student council provided free hot dogs, chips, cookies and drinks to all participants, and all students received a free #SpearsLeaveYourMark t-shirt after leaving their handprint on the wall.

The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of students participated in the two-day event, and their handprints will become a part of the history of the current Business Building, which has seen thousands of OSU students since it opened in 1966.

“The mural is awesome,” says Holly Brown, who is majoring in international business. “I think it is so cool that I got to be a part of it. I think it’s going to be awesome that when I’m older I can say to my grandkids that my hands are on that wall.”

The participation of students, faculty and staff shows the excitement around the Spears School as construction starts on the state-of-the-art building.

“The mural has just turned out unbelievable. When we first thought of the idea, it’s kind of hard to conceptualize that you can make a mural from handprints. But when you see it done now, it’s just amazing,” Eastman says.

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