Students repaint faded paw prints in downtown Florence

University painter Keith Fields sprays purple paint over a paw print stencil on Pine Street Sept. 27. After the paint was sprayed on the stencils, volunteer students outlined the purple paw prints with pearl white paint.

As the sun rises on a Sunday morning, students and workers armed with buckets of paint, brushes and glass beads take to the streets of Florence with one goal: making our campus beautiful.

Former SGA president KeKoria Greer suggested SGA repaint the paw prints in downtown Florence during SGA’s 2014-15 summer retreat. This year, SGA accomplished her goal.

SGA and student volunteers began work on the repainting project Sept. 20.

More volunteers joined the team Sept. 27.

“Sometimes SGA doesn’t accomplish every goal we set within a year,” said current SGA President Nick Lang. “I knew this needed to be done. We want students to know that we take pride in our university. We want it to be the best it can be.”

SGA consulted the university painters for help with the project, he said. The painters helped SGA order the correct paint for the road and helped with the painting process.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Dayton Tenney said he thinks the paw prints needed to be repainted because they stand out to the Florence and UNA communities.

“The first thing you see approaching campus is the paw prints,” Lang said. “If those look good, you know the campus will look good, and it does. We have a beautiful campus.”

Lang said about eight SGA volunteers helped Sept. 20. Twelve SGA and student volunteers helped finish the paw prints on Pine Street Sept. 27.

Lang said the only remaining repainting work is the large UNA logo in front of Rogers Hall and the paw prints on Irvine Avenue.

The university painters sprayed purple paint inside the paw print stencils, and students painted the white around the paw prints with brushes, Lang said.

Students also spread glass beads in the wet paint to make the paw prints reflective.

University graphic designer Charles Craig designed the paw print stencils. Lang said the stencils were an important part of the project.

“We couldn’t have done this without the help of Mr. Craig, the university painters and the grounds and facilities department,” he said.

“I know I couldn’t go out there and paint a paw print on the road without some guidance,” he said.

Tenney said student involvement is important for the direction of the campus community.

“UNA is heading to a brand new direction, and as a student, our engagement will severely impact what may happen in a few years,” he said. “The message I believe we need to send to campus and the local community is that we, here at UNA, want to continue to keep our traditions strong and proud.”

He said he has been looking forward to this project for about a year.

“Most of the paws, specifically on Court Street, were quite faded,” said junior Stormy Morgan.

“The words painted on them were barely visible.”

She said the fresh paint and glass beads made the paw prints seem to pop off the road.

Lang said he hopes the paw print repainting project becomes an SGA tradition.

Morgan said she thinks students repainting the paw prints every few years gives students an opportunity to “put their paw print” on campus.

“I believe because we all got together and repainted these paw prints, the community will feel UNA is very spirited,” she said.

Community members and students commented on how good the paw prints look, she said.

“I think (repainting the paw prints) really shows that the students care and want to keep the university looking good,” said freshman Brayan Patlan.

Lang said he even received an email from President Kitts about how great the paw prints look.

“Other citizens of Florence have already stopped their cars and rolled down their windows just to tell us how proud they are to know students volunteer their time and efforts to promote beauty and school spirit around downtown,” Morgan said.

Volunteers hope to complete the project Oct. 6. Lang said he encourages all students to volunteer.