East Lansing is finding new ways to bring the community together for homecoming.
City Hall has created an event called, “Paint the Aves,” where student groups team with businesses along Grand River and Albert avenues to paint windows with supplies provided by the city. A five-member committee of representatives from the city and Michigan State University will then judge the windows based on how well they play into this year’s theme, “Spartans Take the World Stage”
“This is the first of its kind for East Lansing.” said East Lansing Community Development Specialist Amy Schlusler.
Schlusler says the idea came from a trip to Kansas by a coworker, who witnessed a similar event called “Paint the Villes.” Schlusler wanted to bring it to East Lansing as something exciting to unite the community for homecoming.
“City Council is extremely supportive of events like this, because in the beginning of the year when people are still getting acclimated, whether you’re a freshman or a senior, you’re getting into the groove of everything,” said Schlusler. “It is really important to us for everybody to feel connected to the downtown and the community as a whole.”
Many businesses are gearing up for homecoming, and are getting excited about upcoming events. East Lansing business owner of Silver and Beyond Exquisite Jewelry Gallery, Siham Baladi, said she was very excited to be part of it all.
“It is going to be an exciting week!” said Baladi.
Baladi could not fight smiling as she showed off the sample drawing of what the student group planned to paint on her massive store front window.
“It brings people downtown – and the community, MSU and East Lansing, together,” said Baladi. “I really am going to enjoy that.”
Even those who are not painting enjoyed the festivities. Michigan State student Sam Edgerton said she had a lot of fun seeing all of the paintings, and was excited to find the rest she has not yet seen.
Michigan State student and president of MSU College Democrats, Wyatt Ludman, said the event was rewarding to feel united with the business owners and other East Lansing community members to accomplish a common goal.
“Students, regardless of their engagement level with the university, should be encouraged to participate in events like this so that all members of the community can see the importance of the contributions that we all make toward the betterment of society,” said Ludman. “Being able to participate in projects such as ‘Paint the Aves’ with other groups to promote city beautification and community pride is important and very rewarding.”
Schlusler said she hopes the event is a positive experience for community members, students, visitors and businesses combined, and hopes the event will become a tradition to East Lansing for years to come.