A butterfly sculpture with wings of green and gold has taken flight in front of Billingsly Student Center as part of Joplin’s observance of the fifth anniversary of the May 22, 2011, tornado.

The butterfly sculpture is on display in front of BSC.

The butterfly sculpture is on display in front of BSC.

The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation presented the “Spread Our Wings – Fly High and Proud” project, offering businesses and individuals the opportunity to purchase a butterfly sculpture to decorate and display. The sculptures are being displayed around Joplin, with proceeds to help fund the upcoming Joplin Disaster Recovery Summit.

Cassie Mathes, director of University Relations & Marketing, said Missouri Southern’s participation in the fundraiser is a reminder of the role played by the university in the tornado’s aftermath.

“Missouri Southern played a crucial role in the emergency response, providing thousands of people with a place to turn for shelter and supplies,” she said. “Since that time, the university has been recognized at conferences throughout the nation for its extraordinary efforts.

“We wanted to participate in the Fly High and Proud project because we support our community and to show that we will never forget.”

The sculpture’s wings were designed by Alicia Zustiak, a senior visual arts major who works as a graphic designer for the URM office.

For more information on events planned for the fifth anniversary – including the Joplin Memorial Marathon and the Disaster Recovery Summit to be held on campus on May 19 – visit www.joplinproud.com.