Some “beary” exciting news was announced by Student Body President Abdillahi Dirie last week. A new bear statue, featuring an original design by an MSU student, will be added to campus on the south lawn of Plaster Student Union.

Dirie emailed all students via their MSU emails on July 2, asking for their help designing the new statue. Current students registered for Fall 2019 classes are encouraged to submit one design to the Student Government Association representing the provided theme: “What student engagement looks like from a student viewpoint.” PSU Director Terry Weber said he is excited to see the designs students come up with.

“In reflecting on how we can make the bear statue more endearing and meaningful to students, we decided that opening up a design contest to students made great sense,” Weber said. “It will allow students to demonstrate their creativity and to make their Missouri Statement in a very pronounced way. This theme presents the opportunity to demonstrate in a more visual manner what student engagement looks like.”

According to Dirie, University President Clif Smart announced a few years ago that he would like the addition of more bear statues around campus and the city of Springfield. Besides the south lawn statue, about 20 others will be installed — all before homecoming.

This particular statue concept was proposed by 2018-2019 Senior Class President Macy Hankel who helped fundraise throughout last spring semester among the senior class. The statue is the Senior Class of 2019’s gift to the university. The Senior Class Gift fund and the PSU will be paying for the cost of painting the statue only. An estimated cost for the paint will be determined once the winning design has been chosen.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of students and staff. Once a winning design has been chosen, it will need approval from the Planning, Design, and Construction Office. Along with their design being displayed, the winning student’s name will be on signage in front of the statue. 

Design submissions should be sent as an email attachment to by August 4 at 11:59 p.m for consideration.

Expect more details on the 20 bear statues being installed before Homecoming, according to Dirie.