Kogan Plaza could add a blackboard for bucket lists

More than 700 students have backed the idea of chalking a mural-turned-discussion board onto a construction wall in Kogan Plaza.

A pitch for the public art project – which has become a global fad since the first one popped up in New Orleans in 2007 – landed on a top administrator’s desk Thursday, after it received support from the Student Association, Campaign GW, Colonial Army and the Residence Hall Association.

The wall would act as GW’s bucket list, with spaces available for anyone to fill in the blank in the phrase, “Before I die, I want to…”

“The wall itself would emphasize the diversity of thoughts and opinions of students on campus,” said Brian Doyle, who launched the idea through a Facebook group Sept. 26. Within 24 hours, 400 students had signed up in support.

The sophomore began planning the “Before I Die” wall this summer, after he attended a TED Global Conference in Scotland, and he met the woman who started the movement.

A New Orleans native, Candy Chang, introduced the “Before I Die” wall in 2007 after she lost a loved one in Hurricane Katrina. She created the project to help her home city look toward the future, and it has since cropped up as far as Australia and Spain. A mural previously existed on a construction site at the corner Q and 14 streets, NW.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said Alicia Knight, senior associate vice president for operations, received the wall’s permit request Thursday but could not comment on it, because she had not yet discussed the idea with her staff.

Student Association President Ashwin Narla, who is helping the project gain approval, said the wall would help “liven up the community aesthetically.”

“It is interesting to do something out of the box. We try to bring awareness to the project, and it is something fun to participate in,” Narla said.

Doyle said he plans to raise money from student organizations to fund the project, though he does not yet have a cost estimate.

If a wall in Kogan Plaza is a success, he hopes to find a more permanent location on campus in the future over the temporary construction wall.

“In our age today, we need new and fresh ideas to lighten things up,” Doyle said. “It could be something that could continue on simply and could give students a chance to be inspired,” he said.

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