By Emily Wunderlich
While the end of September marks the beginning of fall, it also indicates the tradition of the annual mural competition on each floor of the University Student Center and Residence Hall One.
Residents living in the Hilton were also included in the festivities this year, although they had to paint their murals on canvases.
With less restrictions than the previous year, the unifying theme among murals was self-expression. Each floor had its design approved ahead of time, and students were asked to be mindful of space, as hall directors anticipate hosting two more mural competitions before repainting the walls.
Resident Assistants received their paint and supplies Sept. 25, allowing students to work until 11 a.m. Sept. 29 before their masterpieces were scored by judges unaffiliated with the department of Housing and Residence Life.
The prizes at stake were $100 for the first-place winner, $75 for second and $50 for third, to be used for the good of the floor.
The USC second floor’s mural, “The Last of the 90s,” was the brainchild of freshman biology major Jordan Mendes. He recreated the Central Perk coffee shop logo from ‘90s sitcom “Friends.” The explosion of cartoon characters serves as a nostalgic tribute to childhood.
Because the Biology Living Learning Community is on the second floor, the majority of residents are science majors. To compensate for the lack of skilled artists, residents got creative by using a projector.
“Since we can’t get into the mechanical rooms, we had to put it into each one of these [dorms] and angle it and work with it,” RA and sophomore political science major Branndon Baez said.
Sept. 26, three days before the deadline, residents of the third floor hadn’t reserved a space for their mural yet. The RA and friends were left scrambling to complete it late Sept. 28 as residents looked on.
The finished work was a treehouse that symbolized the floor, with colorful roots representing the various personalities of the residents.
The fourth floor’s mural titled “That Floor” is a collective of inside jokes curated by the residents and drawn to life by freshman graphic arts major Dalyce Farnan.
“I think it has a lot more heart than some of the other [murals] do,” Farnan said. “It’s really personal.”
Featuring the floor’s favorite video games, hobbies and snacks, “That Floor” captures the humor and sentiment that bonds the residents and distinguishes them from other floors.
The fifth floor decided to put a modern twist on a classical work, “The School of Athens,” by incorporating elements of the USFSP campus. Each one of the 44 residents is personally depicted in the scene.
RA and junior marketing major Karly Taylor was especially thrilled with the idea. “We were trying to take this classic painting and make it a little bit more us,” she said. “I had a couple residents that got really creative this year.”
The fifth floor is home to the Leadership LLC, which proved useful when it came to delegating tasks.
“It’s been a really cool experience to see students who normally aren’t acknowledged in things to take a step forward and say ‘’I’m good at this, / Let me take care of this,’ so I have seen a little bit of difference in leadership,” Taylor said.
The sixth floor drew inspiration from the diverse heritage of its residents in creating “The Sixth Sense.” The mural features landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids, and Christ the Redeemer.
“It basically represents all of our cultural backgrounds… to show the community who we are and what we are made of,” RA and junior graphic design major Tessa Wilson said. “I think it’s neat to have a visual representation of where everyone’s from because people can stand there and be like ‘Oh yeah, that’s where I’m from, that’s me.’”
The fourth floor of RHO took home first prize, the second floor of USC took second and sixth floor of USC took third.
An earlier version of this article read “2nd” in the headline and has since been switched to “second”