RUPA Presents “Before I Die” and “I Say NO MORE” Walls

By Monica Sainz

“Before I die I want to make a change.”

The Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) has kicked off the Rutgers Traditional Art Installation. From Oct. 3 through the seventh at Voorhees Mall on College Avenue, students were invited free of charge to get creative and be a part of a positive change on campus.

The towering chalkboard walls allow students to profess their bucket lists and innermost desires using multicolored chalk. Responses this year were both touching and comical, some of them being “before I die I want to be happy” and “before I die I want to see Yeezy.”

Anthony Mollica, Journalism and Media Studies Junior and Director for Arts and Culture for RUPA, was more than pleased with this year’s project. “Students love the Before I Die walls,” he said. “This year is our first year having it at Voorhees Mall. The walls really caught the attention of students as they walked out of class and it’s always amazing to see what they write on the wall and seeing how they respond to what other people write.”

Hundreds of students over the years have taken the opportunity to confess what they want to achieve before they die. The annual event was started in 2012 by RUPA’s Arts & Culture committee based on an original project by Candy Chang, according to Ryan O’Connell, assistant director for the Department of Major Events and Programs for RUPA.

This year, RUPA partnered with Rutgers NO MORE, which combats domestic violence and sexual assault nationwide. The two joined forces and cultivated the “I say NO MORE because” walls, calling for students and staff to pledge why they are against sexual assault and domestic violence.

“This partnership with Rutgers NO MORE was a great way to help bring awareness about Rutgers NO MORE and their mission to our following as well as illustrate that the fight against sexual assault is a group effort and that RUPA supports NO MORE and all that they stand for,” Mollica said. “We are in this together.”

RUPA events, such as Beats on the Banks or Scarlet Harvest, are among the most popular at Rutgers. RUPA, which has a following of more than 20,000 people on social media, claims the “Before I die” event is one of its favorites.

According to O’Connell, RUPA is important because it acts as an outlet for students and himself included. “I think people need distractions in life, things to take their mind off of serious things, whether they are work, school, family, etc. The saltiest people I’ve met in life have been people who only have their job or only have school. They don’t have anything else to occupy their mind. RUPA provides that distraction.”