Sheet banners are an Argo tradition

December 1, 2017 | Jose Centeno

The paint-splattered walls of the Commons Banner Room provide a place for students to unleash their creativity when making sheet banners.
The Banner Room is on the second floor of the Commons. | Jose Centeno

Tradition is the structure that cultivates society, and here at the University of West Florida, we have cultured the art of making sheet banners and hanging them for Argos to see throughout the campus. The culture surrounding sheet banners has been strong throughout generations here at the University, even at its young age.

Today, we live in a digital age when social media outlets make it easy to spread news that travels instantly to audiences, and graphic design and photo editing make it easier to develop visual media. But sheet banners offer a unique way to display pride in our University and organizations. Their eye-catching designs can be noticed by anyone walking or driving around campus.

A long-standing tradition

Ben Stubbs, director of Student Involvement, recalled the types of banners he saw during his undergraduate time at UWF during the late ’90s and early ’00s.

“You saw sheet banners for a variety of things. … Some of them were funny, some of them had just the facts, some of them were very artistically done, some … looked awful,” he said.

Making a sheet banner requires creativity, but not necessarily artistic skills. Creativity can range from being funny to just being punny. Having a unique look for advertising your event or organization can grab attention from other students. Simply making a sheet banner provides a different media from printed and digital posters to attract interest to your program or event.

“When I was here at UWF, … of course, any professional printing was really expensive,” Stubbs said. “Now, you can get vinyl banners for pretty cheap, but back then, that just was not possible. So a lot of flyers were handmade and then photocopied. … And then if you really wanted to get people’s attention, the best way to do that on this campus was a sheet banner.”

Sheet banners are an imaginative way to create your own advertisements for events, awareness or school pride. Their visibility can encourage other students to be a part of the campus community. They also display students’ loyalty and commitment to their organizations, given the effort that making sheet banners requires.

“Most of the sheet banners are used to promote events, such as [Fraternity and Sorority Life] philanthropy events or club barbecues on the Cannon Green. Sometimes banners are made to express our love for a member or UWF,” said Nancy Patton, Alpha Gamma Delta chapter president. “Over my three and a half years in being in a sorority at UWF, I have made my fair share of banners. It’s fun to design the image on them and paint them too, and when the final product is done, it’s pretty cool.”

A place to get creative

What some students do not know is that the Commons offers a room called the Banner Room, where students can create their own banners. Students can reserve the room through the Commons Service Desk and Ticket Center and may request an HDMI-connected projector to help trace images from their computer.

“I think it’s a good tradition,” said Kennyattah Cox, assistant director of University Commons and Event Services, who manages the Service Desk and Ticket Center. She came to UWF as an undergraduate student 10 years ago.

“I think the students really enjoy it, and that’s why the banner room exists, for them to go in there and have a creative space to go make those kind of things.”

It helps to have a plan for your design when making a sheet banner, because challenges will come. Have images and the wording sketched out before putting them on a sheet banner. Mistakes can be hard to cover up, so you will want to make the effort to get it right the first time.

“Design … don't just randomly come up with something,” said Macy Rhein, vice president of membership for Panhellenic. “Have a plan and a good paint brush.”

Things to know

Deciding where to hang sheet banners is also important, especially if you are promoting an event and want to maximize exposure. Stubbs and Cox offered this advice on where to hang sheet banners:

  • On trees in medians (only where permitted)
  • Near the Commons, but also other locations, as not every student goes that direction
  • Near the John C. Pace Library
  • In the groves alongside campus roads

Although visibility is key, you will have to take into account other considerations.

“Anytime you think about hanging a sheet banner, think about what you will be blocking,” Stubbs said. Guidelines include:

  • Do not hang between the University sign in the main entrance and the pedestrian crosswalk by the Health, Leisure, and Sports Building (72).
  • Do not block the view of the service road for the trolleys or any vehicle that may be going through. 
  • Do not disrupt visibility of pedestrians or crosswalks anywhere on campus. 
  • Do not hang too close to any building entrance. 
  • Do not put in parking lots.

Any office or organization at the University may request a sheet banner to be hung. Be sure when you hang a banner to have it approved first by the Service Desk and Ticket Center in the University Commons. Sheet banners should not have any discriminatory or vulgar language, and may not promote alcohol.