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Art passion spawns mural club

Photo by Mary Knox Merrill

As a high school student in New Jersey, Bianca Smith recalls organizing the art club to paint a mural at a nearby daycare, and the experience spawned a new passion. Now a third-year student at Northeastern University, Smith wants to continue that community spirit on campus.

“I was talking with my roommates last year, and I kept saying, ‘Just watch. There’s going to be a mural club,’” Smith recalls.

Smith began organizing the club last year, and started a Facebook page that has generated increased interest. But the group’s efforts reached a pinnacle on the Day of Service and Leadership coinciding with Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in January, as the members came out to paint murals to be delivered to public schools in Boston.

“It was really cool to see people excited about what was just a dream to me last year,” Smith said. She is currently working to get her group officially recognized as a student organization. The club would continue Northeastern’s commitment to nurturing pride in the surrounding community, she said, and potentially spark local youths’ interest in art, should they see a bright mural in the hallway of their elementary school one day.

More and more students at Northeastern are demonstrating that same drive. The number of new student organizations being created has increased significantly in the last three years, and there are now about 280 groups on campus, said Jason Foster, Northeastern’s director of student activities.

“We really look to make sure student organizations, when they are recognized, have a broad appeal and the ability to be long lasting,” Foster said. “We welcome all types of organizations. Our objective is to enhance student life, and recognize and accept that all student organizations have that same role on campus. The more groups we have that appeal to more people and generate student involvement, the better. That’s our main goal when it comes to starting new student groups.”

Throughout the academic year, Northeastern’s Office of Campus Activities hosts numerous workshops, which students are required to attend as the first step toward starting new organizations. There, they learn all the basics and receive tips about getting student groups started.

From there, students must find a faculty advisor, write an organization proposal, and submit a list of members and letters of support prior to the official review process.

Visit the campus activities website at http://neu.orgsync.com/home for more information.