Fresh breezes billow through new flags on Des Peres

Dazzling flags sweep across the rooftop of Des Peres and Bauman-Eberhardt, bolstering the buildings’ statures both physically and metaphorically.

The French brick architecture of the buildings only adds to this noble yet festive air that the flags exude.

With this grandiose display of multiculturalism, SLU ushers in progressive new changes not only to the buildings’ façades, but also to its internal offices and functions.

Des Peres hall is converting to a Center for Global Citizenship. Important organizations and programs (such as the Office of International Service and the English as a Second Language Program) will now be housed there. It also mentions how the more flags perched atop the buildings serve to symbolize SLU’s global spirit.

We wonder how these changes – especially the presence of the flags – affect campus life. Flags hark to a time when kings still ruled the land. They symbolized power and grandeur. Today, they hold our national pride up to the heavens for all to see. Students can feel this renewed sense of awe and excitement as they stroll past the clock tower. International students, especially, may feel welcomed when they see their home flag from amongst the many.

When we say international, we really mean international. We noticed over the years that the phrase “international student” at SLU has come to mean “Asian” or “Chinese.”

This subversive metonymy boxes our conceptions of race. We need to understand that students from other nations attend SLU. We also need to see past physical appearances to avoid using visuallycharged terms such as “Asian.”

The words we use maintain visual and stereotypes – we need visual reminders to change these misconceptions.

Countries from far and wide (maybe even from ‘Far Far Away’) are represented atop Des Peres Hall; seeing this vibrant display of nations can help us not only understand the grand importance of diversity and, but also the core meaning of the term “international.”

The flags billow and wave in the morning breeze towards the nations of the world, past a vast and translucent horizon – the horizon towards which we must expand our cultural understanding.

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