Drake University uses tradition to unite campus


DES MOINES – The Drake Relays are right around the corner. That means Painted Street at Drake University is looking more vibrant than ever. Tonight, the street is alive with color after the annual tradition.

This year’s theme for Painted Street is all about living in color. The goal is to promote unity on campus for many years to come. 

It’s a tradition that’s been going strong since the 1970’s. For months, the heartbeat of campus was painted black after students found a racist note in a dorm room last fall. So to show unity, the iconic street was painted black.

“We wanted to show that we stand in solidarity with our fellow classmates,” says a Drake student.  

But the students who painted it black are thrilled to see the vibrant colors back. “This is actually really exciting. It’s nice to see everyone out here. We’re still together and united and I know the painted black message is still going to live on.” 

They made history, changing the culture on campus and leaving a legacy for those to come. “It makes me really proud that we were able to do something like that.” 

“We will always stand together, our campus has come so far and we’re always striving to be an inclusive environment.” 

Drake University Dean Dr. Jerry Parker says “our theme together for the relays is live colorfully, and that’s what us as an institution want to embrace and support and move forward.” 

The paint it black movement will have a permanent section on Painted Street. The Drake Relays are set to kick off on Wednesday April 24. 

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