The Painting of the Paws

Paint the Paws has been a WIU signature event for decades. The time-honored tradition serves as the official kick-off to Homecoming each fall. Planning for Paint the Paws 2012 started last spring, and a lot of work has gone into making it successful. Lana Flesner, a senior majoring in Biology and member of Student Alumni Leadership Council (SALC), chaired the Paint the Paws event.

“Paint the Paws is where the alumni, faculty, staff, and student organizations paint the paws [on the streets leading to the football game],” she said. Painting the Paws includes repainting the Leathernecks Paws along University Drive and Western Avenue. “We have sections marked out,” she continued, “We are going to be painting more than 200 paws.”

Organizing the Paint the Paws event is a big task, and Flesner is more than excited about it. “You’re making history when you repaint a paw,” she began, “It’s the start of homecoming; it’s a huge deal. I never thought I’d be doing this. It means a lot to me to have the opportunity to be able to do this,” she said.

Making Paint the Paws possible required much preparation, Flesner explained. “I am responsible for planning all of it,” Flesner began, “I find contacts, figure out how traffic is running, put up barricades, getting supplies… I’ve contacted the Office of Public Safety (OPS), the Physical Plant, a photographer, Western’s radio, and Prestige radio for a news release,” she said.

To paint the paws themselves, seventeen gallons were used, as well as twenty-eight brushes and rulers, and thirty roller pads, Flesner explained. Making sure the paws are painted correctly and having every utensil necessary are very important aspects of Paint the Paws. “Doing [Paint the Paws] shows pride and it also beautif[ies] the campus. This is a big deal, not a little shindig; it’s huge,” she said.

All the Paint the Paws fun gets underway this afternoon with a 1pm and 3pm shift. For more information about other Homecoming events, visit


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