Southern sends message of opportunity with coloring book

Phaze Roeder, Staff Writer

Every semester, Missouri Southern is overwhelmed with kids from local elementary schools. It seems far-fetched to believe these young children are even thinking about attending college, but that is just the mindset the Missouri Southern marketing team hopes to change.

University Relations and Marketing introduced the Coloring with Roary coloring book as a small mememto to hand out to these young people on campus. Following youthful Roary the Lion, children can color Southern’s mascot through high school graduation and on to college at Missouri Southern, where he is introduced to a number of career options. The book gives kids something fun and relatable they can bring home and associate with their local university.

Fourth grader Ashley Hane, when caught doodling in her coloring book at last week’s Third Thursday event, says, “I turned the [lion’s] clothes pink and she likes to play basketball.”

Since its creation earlier this year, this 16-page book has taken on a new purpose. In addition to the adorable sketches and marketing perks, Coloring with Roary is more than anything, a message of opportunity.

Kalief Steele, recent graduate of Southern and the book’s creator, said, “I hope to show children that they can be successful at life, and that success comes in a variety of ways, a lot of which can be done through Southern. They can become nurses, teachers, scientists, anything that they want.”

When asked if the book helped her decide what to do when she grows up, Hane answered simply, “I really like the nurse.”

Her remark validates the intent behind the coloring book—to bring kids the knowledge that they can be successful just like Roary. The message is that Missouri Southern gives students an opportunity to succeed.

Steele said, “Although it’s really unlikely that they’ll remember these coloring books in the future, we really just wanted to give the kids something of quality to enjoy and inspire them to be all that they can be.”

Free copies of Coloring with Roary were handed out at Third Thursday last week and plans to offer it in elementary schools in the area are underway. In addition, the book is for sale for $1 on campus.