Bigger deal than thought
Gretchen Burns | reporter
Paint the Town Red is one of the biggest events involving the community and Pittsburg State University.
The annual event is sponsored by the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the PSU Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations. This year will be its eighth year.
Offices across campus and businesses across town compete for a variety of rewards during the event, which usually begins on a Thursday and continues through Saturday.
The Office of Career Services has competed for the last four years, winning the trophy twice.
“We usually wait until the night before the judging before we put up our decorations,” said Mindy Cloninger, director of career services. “We like to get the ‘wow’ factor when the judges come through.”
The Registrars Office also enjoys participating.
“It’s a fun way to interact with other offices,” said Angie Davidson, administrative specialist in the office.
Paint the Town Red is geared toward bridging the gap between the university and the community to raise pride and spirit between them.
“We just like all the excitement of decorating the office and supporting the campus and community,” Davidson said. “This event gets everyone excited for the upcoming football season.”
The Registrars Office and the Office of Career Services both plan for the decorating competition throughout the year.
“We have some very creative people on our staff,” Cloninger said. “This event is spearheaded by our administrative assistants, one thing leads to another, and we typically go over the top.”
The Pride of the Plains marching band also gets in on the action by performing at every event during the celebration.
“The first football game is one of the most exciting times in Pittsburg,” said Doug Whitten, marching band director. “All the town is painted up and it’s cool for the band. It’s kind of a lot of work for us, but it’s worth it to support the town and the community and the university. We like the game day activity stuff, halftime and getting everyone pumped up. We love to generate enthusiasm for the football game.”
Anna Gudde, who works with the Chamber of Commerce and spearheads Paint the Town Red Week contests and events, says the city wants to show its support for PSU.
“We have such a strong spirit for PSU football and PSU in general,” Gudde said. “This event grows so much every year and people continue to support it.”
Gudde says her favorite activity is the balloon launch for third-graders.
“This whole week gets me excited for football season and makes me excited for the students,” Gudde said. “They’ve never been to a football game before and never met Gus, and this is an experience that they won’t forget.”