Paint the Bridge FAQs

The annual Paint the Bridge event occurs in early fall semester. Paint the Bridge is an excellent way to promote your student group and give your group presence on the bridge to thousands of students throughout the year. For more information, please review the guidelines and policies below.

General Information

What is Paint the Bridge?

Paint the Bridge is an annual event hosted by Student Unions & Activities. It is an opportunity for groups to create community by painting artwork along the interior of the pedestrian walkway on the Washington Ave Bridge. The panels serve as a platform to bring awareness to each group's activities and to promote their group/department to students. The artwork on the panel is designed and painted by the members and officers of the group.

The event will take place on Thursday and Friday, September 26 and 27, 2019 from 10:00 am and 7:00 pm on the pedestrian level of the Washington Avenue Bridge.

Who is able to participate?

Currently registered student groups and University departments are able to paint bridge panels. Prior registration is required.

Do I have to pay for this event?

No, participation is free for registered student groups and University departments.


Where and when can I sign up to get a panel to paint?

Signups for Paint the Bridge open on August 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm. The signup form will appear as a link at the top of this page.

Do I need to re-register my student group first?

Paint the Bridge is for currently registered student groups. Groups do not need to re-register to sign up for Paint the Bridge, but will need to re-register for the 2018-19 academic year to participate.

How do I know if my group signed up?

Upon signup, a confirmation email is sent to the main and secondary email addresses that were entered on the signup form. Contact to verify if your group is signed up.

What is the deadline for signing up?

The signups are open until a week before the event. However, signups are first-come, first-served and often fill quickly.

At the Event

When does check-in begin?

Check-in for groups who signed up before the event will begin at 9:00am on Thursday, September 26. Since panels are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis you may arrive as early as you would like and wait in line before check in begins.

How long do I have to check-in?

All currently registered student groups and University departments who signed up before the event have until 5:00 pm on Thursday, September 26, to claim their panels. Any panels that are unclaimed by 4:30 pm on Thursday, September 26 will be considered forfeit and made available to any currently registered student groups and University departments on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10:00 am on Friday, September 27.

Can I check-in to claim my panel and/or paint my panel after designated times?

No, any alteration(s) to any panel by any person(s) outside of these designated time(s) is considered vandalism and subject to University Policy and/or local, state and federal law(s). Painting is allowed starting at 10:00 am and must stop by 6:30 pm on both Thursday and Friday, September 26-27. Also, any panels that have not had the design/painting process started by 4:30pm on Friday, September 27 will be considered to be forfeited panels by Student Unions & Activities and may not be painted by the group.

Will my group have access to an electrical outlet?

Access to electricity is limited and may be denied based on outside factors (such as weather). Groups will be notified at check-in if conditions will not allow electricity use. Event staff reserves the right to stop electricity use at any time to ensure the safety of participants and pedestrians. Should groups wish to use an overhead projector, groups must supply their own projector and extension cords. In the past, it has not been possible for all organizations wishing to use electricity to do so due to limited resources.

What will SUA provide?

Student Unions & Activities will provide the following items: paint (maroon, gold, red, black, white, green, blue, brown), and foam brushes (1”, 2”, 3”, 4”). Panels are just over 4 feet wide by 3 feet tall.

When do I have to clean-up?

Clean-up must begin by 6:30 p.m. on both days and be completed by 7:00 pm. Supplies used for painting must be disposed of or removed from the bridge by 7:00 pm each day. Groups who fail to comply with this guideline may be ineligible for panels in future years.

What is required on the panel?

All painted panel(s) must prominently display the following:

  • Name of registered student group or University department
  • Contact information

What if I want to have the Block M, Goldy or any other University related logos on my panel?

Student group(s) using any University and/or University Department(s) logo(s) must have prior written approval. For further information regarding the use of University and/or University Department(s) logo(s), please refer to the Student Unions & Activities Student Group website.

What other guidelines is there for Paint the Bridge?

Participant(s) can only paint on their assigned panel(s).

  • Any participant(s) painting on unassigned panel(s) will have their work(s) removed.
  • No spray paint is allowed.
  • All panels must be painted. No posters or signs may be adhered or attached to panels.

Any costs associated with paint clean up that can be connected to a registered student group will be charged to the registered student group.

What if I have a concern about a group and what they are doing at the event?

All participants of Paint the Bridge are governed by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents Policy, the Student Conduct Code, the Student Unions & Activities Student Group Policies, and the guideline(s) for Paint the Bridge (see below):

  • Any organization(s) in violation of this policy may have their work(s) removed.
  • Any organization(s) in violation of this policy may be banned from participating in this event for the academic year in which the offense was committed.

Any incident(s) pertaining to Paint the Bridge must be submitted through the Incident Report Form. The review process will follow Student Group Conduct procedures.

Best Practices

What if our group wanted to partner with another student group/department?

Your student group is encouraged to partner and work with other groups. Your groups are allowed to use and combine your panels together to create one image if you so choose.

What should our group paint?

These panels are an opportunity to represent your group and to attract new members to your organization. Make sure to showcase what your group is about, how students are able to get involved, as well as understand that these panels are in a public location and to consider the message you are trying to send.

What should I bring to paint my panel?

We recommend that groups consider bringing the following items: stencils, masking tape, knee pads, paper towels, specialized paint brushes (if the provided foam brushes are not suitable for the group’s project), additional paint (if the paint provided is not suitable for the group’s project).

How should I dispose of my supplies?

There will be paint disposal tables located throughout the bridge. Please put any remaining cups of paint on those tables for other groups to use, or dispose of paint in the white buckets located at those tables. Cups, brushes, paper towels, or any supply that has paint on it should be thrown away in the large blue trash containers.

What if I notice vandalism or graffiti on the panel(s)?

If your group's panel is vandalized or is covered by graffiti during or after the event, your group should contact the Student Activities Office ( with a photograph of the panel and we will help determine next steps. We will work with your group to repair your panel or repaint.