By Julia Rosano | Staff Writer |

The Murals on a Mission event was held in the basement of Alumni Hall on Feb. 26 from 12- 5 p.m.,. Sponsored by UpLift and led by students, Murals on a Mission invited St. Michael’s community members help decorate the newly renovated basement with handprints, empowering statements and names. 

At the start of the event, around 20 people attended. People continued coming in and out of the basement from the start of the event to the very end of the community art project.

Murals on a Mission was sponsored by UpLift, a campus-wide initiative that enhances and diversifies student experiences. The event included food, drinks, games and a chance to win prizes. At the center of the event were the murals, which showcased bright colors and a large “I AM” painted on a wall in the center of the room with affirmations surrounding it. These statements drove other participants to share their affirmations by writing it on the palm of their handprints. 

KC Onuoha writes an “I am” quote on her handprint on the newly painted Alumni basement wall on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. KC spearheaded the effort to refurbish the basement in hopes that students can have an area to have fun and feel at ease. 
Carolina Cadillo places her cat Lumi’s painted paw on the Alumni basement wall on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Lumi’s paw was one of the first hand prints (and the only paw print) to be put on the wall in the newly painted basement. 

At the helm of this event was KC Onuoha ‘23, a resident assistant on the fourth floor of Alumni. She was a major proponent of the renovation efforts and helped secure approval for the UpLift event. Onuoha said the purpose and meaning of the “I am” statement was to remind people in our community of their personal value, which may be overshadowed by academic performance or mental health challenges

“I wanted people to come down to that basement, see that ‘I am’ statement and remind themselves, you know what I am awesome!” she said.

The “I AM” wall in the alumni basement was revealed to students on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. This wall is a symbol for students to see and know that they are loved and they can be anything and everything on that wall. 

Alumni Resident Matt Costantino ‘24 attended the event. “I really like how the community is able to in a sense leave a their “mark” or handprint on Alumni Hall,” he said. “ I think it will be really fun to come back here when I am a senior or an alumni and see my name and handprint on the wall.” 

Costantino expressed that as a resident of Alumni, he was excited for the community to have a lounge to socialize with other people and looks forward to future programming. “I find that living in Alumni,  I have a hard time getting to know the people in my building, but this event has opened me up to so many new faces and interesting people,” Costantino said.

Max Elieson ‘24, a resident of Alumni and Costantinos’ roommate, said he attended the event with some hesitation. However, he found the event was not only fun, but allowed him to feel part of the Alumni community. “My roommate and I haven’t really been able to get to know the Alumni community because we are in a dorm and there is no common area,” Elieson said. “With the addition of this basement common area I’m excited to hang out there and get to know my neighbors. Events like Murals on a Mission are a great way for me to start meeting new people,” he said. Onuoha said that she wanted the event to add meaning to the new lounge.

The Murals on a mission event gathers students together on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. This event promoted what the newly refurbished Alumni basement has turned into. Students were invited to play games, eat food, and put a handprint on the wall. 

“Murals on a Mission means adding value to your community. I wanted it to be a space where people can express themselves artistically, but also with meaning,” Onuoha said. “What does it mean to live in Alumni? Really, what it means to me is we don’t have to graduate before we start adding value to our school.”  

After a long process of renovating and getting approval for the event, Onuoha and others were able to foster the feeling of community they were looking for.  Onuoha said that resident assistants and members of UpLift look forward to hosting more community based events like this in the future.