Painted Street is one of the most beloved traditions at Drake. It is something that I have participated in and thought was amazing. Getting to do something completely different from what our club does is so much fun and is something that should be experienced at least once in your Drake experience.
However, not everything about Painted Street is golden. There are a few things that hold the event back from being the best experience at Drake — and an experience that everyone can participate in. The main elephant in the room is the impact that the event has on student’s wallets. We are college students who are paying a hefty bill to attend Drake. We want to be able to attend these events, but the fact that students have to pay for materials (that are not cheap!) to make it possible is hard. It becomes more stressful when organizations cannot bring money together to make a square, even if they are passionate about painting a square.
From my experiences, I know that organizations are unable to use funding requests from Drake, and they have to provide funding through member pockets. This is something that can quickly become problematic, especially when considering the fact that these are students paying for materials. Most of the time we are unable to properly buy groceries, so what makes those in charge think that we can afford to buy expensive paints?
Additionally, those who do work on campus do not make good pay, and do not get paid in time to buy the paints that are needed for this event. If there was decent student pay, this might be a different narrative. However, that is not the case here. Student workers have to pay for other things that matter more in their day-to-day lives (i.e. food, tuition, rent, etc. ) and making them pay for paint is not something that should be a requirement.
Perhaps a solution to this issue can be to have students split the cost of paint, but that is not the most reliable solution either. Those students might not be able to afford paints, even when splitting the cost with one another. Additionally, there are instances when students do not pay each other back for things. This happens more often than one would think- especially when it is a “pay if you want!” sort of thing. This is something that is not the best for those who are involved, and it is something that can easily be fixed by those in charge.
Another solution to this issue could be the inclusion of splitting the cost between SAB (or who is in charge of organizing Painted Street festivities) and the respective organizations. This way, it lessens the burden on students, but it also allows them to finance some of the square. Another smaller solution that seems to be the most simple is allowing students to request funding for the materials for Painted Street.
These are all solutions for organizations that do get a square. Some organizations get a square, while others do not. While this makes sense as there are more RSOs than squares, this is something that can have a solution as well. There are ways that the squares can be expanded upon by simply moving the black barriers a little further down the street. Additionally, by moving the Paint it Black Project to the center of the crossroads between Meredith, Morehouse, Cowles, and Jewett, you are able to get at least a few more squares for organizations to be included. This might not be an end-all solution, but it is something that is worth looking into. This is something that so many organizations, I assume, would be on board for. There is something to be said for the inclusion of organizations that are unable to get a square. They deserve to be represented in this tradition of Painted Street, and if there is a simple solution to the issue, it should be implemented. It would save a lot of heartbreak, and it is something that can make the lives of those involved a whole lot easier.