Campaign creates new Naperville flag

The campaign has concluded, and what six high school students say is a "better" Naperville flag has emerged.

Students from Neuqua Valley High School presented a flag chosen by a community vote during the TEDx Naperville speakers conference this month. The new design shows a tree inspired by the city's official logo, two lines to represent DuPage and Will counties, a blue line to represent the DuPage River, six stars to portray townships within the city and a blue color scheme also reminiscent of the city's current flag.

The banner was created as part of an open online contest to update the city's official municipal flag, which was designed in 1972,

"The one that was chosen - I really think it represents Naperville in its colors and how it's presented to our community," said Haider Sarwar, one of the students who ran the Campaign for a Better Naperville flag.

Haider said he and his peers would love to see the city adopt the new flag as its official municipal logo. But city spokeswoman Linda LaCloche said that's not in the cards.

The city's flag design is more prevalent than many might realize - painted, posted or printed on things such as water towers, municipal trucks and documents with city letterhead. It would take money to change all those things, and LaCloche said the city doesn't plan to spend on such updates for now.

The flag is meant to be a symbol unifying Naperville, much like the "W" flag unifies Cubs fans near and far.

"It's a community-driven flag," said Arthur Zards, who founded the TEDx Naperville conference as an independent series of talks in the style of the well-known TED talks - short speeches meant to foster thought and action. "The intent is to have some civic pride about our community."

Zards said it's not so much about making the flag "official." What's more important to him is that people with ideas see the Campaign for a Better Naperville Flag as an example that taking action can lead to success.

After hearing a recorded TED talk by design expert Roman Mars, Haider and five other students decided Naperville's municipal flag - with the city seal atop a blue square on a white banner also featuring the word "Naperville" - could be better.

So they created a website, hosted a contest and gathered 139 submissions, some from as far away as Norway, England and France. Roughly 70 were from right at home in Naperville. The winning flag was designed by Austin Schleicher.

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Six Neuqua Valley High School students who ran a campaign to design and choose a new flag to represent the city of Naperville say they now want to find a way to distribute the flag widely and have it adopted as the city's official municipal banner. Courtesy of Haider Sarwar
  The city of Naperville's municipal flag was designed in 1972 and the city does not plan to update it despite a campaign that concluded this month to create a new flag to represent the city. Marie Wilson/ March 2016
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