Sul Ross Foundation receives Union Pacific Community Ties Giving Program Grant

ALPINE –– The Sul Ross State University Foundation has been awarded the Union Pacific Community Ties Giving Program Grant in the sum of $25,000.

The project submission for the grant was “Living the Dream –– Cultural Pride on Campus.” SRSU embodied that ideal with the creation of the first Hispanic mural on the Alpine Campus outside the Pete P. Gallego Center.

“We are inspired by the wonderful work that Carol Fairlie coordinated for our first Hispanic mural on campus,” said Dr. Jeanne Qvarnstrom, assistant vice president for institutional effectiveness. “With the Union Pacific grant, we can continue enhancing outdoor spaces on campus by creating a second mural to honor our diverse heritage.”

This grant was a joint project of university faculty, staff, students and the Sul Ross State University Foundation board members: Rick Stephens, Carla McFarland and Beto Hinojosa.

Following the publication of the Report on Diversity and Inclusion on the SRSU campus, the university felt the need to create more inclusive spaces where individuals of various ethnic backgrounds would be recognized and honored. 

There is a long tradition of outdoor murals in the city of Alpine, and a small group of university faculty and staff met to plan an outdoor mural that would feature Hispanic leaders of the area. The university financed the mural, and then sought funding through the Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program to create a second outdoor mural on the university campus. These outdoor murals will provide culturally relevant spaces for people on campus, community members and visitors to learn about the unique contributions of those featured in the murals. The murals will demonstrate that the university is a vibrant, diverse and inclusive community and enhance their environment by highlighting the distinct identity of the area and creating a beautiful and educational site for students, the community and visitors.

A working group of faculty from the SRSU art department, languages and literature department, and behavioral and social sciences department guided the research and art design. The group includes Carol Fairlie, Mark Saka, Judith Loya and Savannah Williamson. Filemon Zamora was in the group until he retired, and Dr. Ana Acevedo has been asked to join the group. Students from the SRSU Art Club and area artists were included to participate in the current mural. The working group also has connected with community groups to promote murals in town and on campus.

The goal is to increase awareness and appreciation of our diverse society. The success of increasing community awareness of those contributions will be measured in two ways:

1) Using the walking tour apps to be able to track the number of visitors to the outdoor mural who access the audio information associated with it.

2) Implementing surveys on the Sul Ross State University campus to assess the awareness and level of appreciation of the murals of those who participate in the survey.