Hundreds of students. Limitless gallons of paint. One street in the middle of Des Moines, Iowa. That’s all it takes for one of the most epic traditions in all of college: Drake University Street Painting.
This year’s celebration, hosted by none other than the Drake Student Activities Board, took place on Friday. Needless to say, it was pretty amazing. Campus organizations come together to claim their squares on Drake’s painted street, located in the heart of campus, right in front of the library. And while campus groups produced some incredible Snapshots of Excellence-themed squares this year, street painting is about so much more than the actual painting of the street. In fact, some might even say the squares are secondary to the massive friendly paint fight that never fails to emerge. Every year, campus briefly transforms into a battle zone with paint splattering, pouring, and flying all over the street. And if your plan is to avoid getting painted….good luck.
It sounds insane. And frankly that’s because it is insane. I mean, this isn’t Tom Sawyer painting; it’s a beautiful mess of (controlled) chaos. But SAB Street Painting is also one of my favorite times to be a Bulldog. We are all bonded by our fondness for and participation in this awesome ritual. While other schools may have their traditions, nobody else has street painting. It’s a time to celebrate the upcoming week of Relays athletics and campus events, but more so it’s a time to celebrate the unique, quirky, fun that is Drake University. Above all, the Street Painting reveals the one unquestioned truth of the Drake experience: we’re never closer as a student body than when we’re unapologetically splattering each other with paint.