BU's handprint murals touch lives

For immediate release: Feb. 1, 2010

BLOOMSBURG — People who add a handprint to Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania's "Hands on the World BU" murals can envision their handprint not only on a canvas wrapped around an Egyptian pyramid, but also helping to install wells in African countries that do not have running water.

"Hands on the World BU" is a fundraiser for Hands on the World Global Inc., a non-profit organization created by Rachel Paulson, the mother of BU freshman Michael Paulson. The focus of Paulson's non-profit is getting running water to schools and clinics around the world. BU is initiating a partnership with Paulson to install wells at three schools in the Zulu Natal part of South Africa.

As part of the initiative, BU has two traveling murals on campus where students, faculty, staff and members of the community may contribute their handprints for a $1 donation.

Sharon Solloway, professor of developmental instruction, is creating an ongoing study abroad course on cultural intelligence, mindful practice and public service. As part of the course, students will travel to Africa to assist Paulson with installing wells during a four-week period.

In May 2011, Solloway and the first group of 20 students will present one mural during a celebration formally turning over the well to the community. The second canvas will be sent in December to the Art Miles Mural Project to join others wrapping a pyramid. This event marks the close of the United Nations Decade of Peace.

All proceeds from the BU fundraiser will be given to the African water well effort. The public is welcome to donate $1 and their handprints. The schedule for the murals is as follows:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 2, African mural, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Luzerne Residence Hall lobby
  • Wednesday, Feb. 3, pyramid peace mural, 9 a.m. to noon, new McCormick Center lobby
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9, pyramid peace mural, 5 to 8 p.m., Monty's lobby
  • Thursday, Feb. 11, pyramid peace mural, 8 to 10 p.m., Lycoming Residence Hall lobby

To culminate "Hands on the World BU," a talent expo will be held Sunday, Feb. 14, from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Kehr Union Ballroom. The event is open to the public and admission is $1. Performers will sing, play, dance and recite.
"It is a wonderful opportunity to teach cultural intelligence and make people more aware of differences in constructive ways," said Solloway.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.