“Before I Die” wall designer Candy Chang to speak at CSU about public art

By Taylor Pettaway and Mariah Wenzel
The Rocky Mountain Collegian

If you knew that you had just one year to live, or even a few months, what would you want to do before you died?

Ad

Colorado State students now have the chance to contemplate and publicly share their thoughts on that very question. Students will also have the chance to hear, from the source, how sharing these thoughts can alter their lives.

The Before I Die wall is a concept created by created by Candy Chang, a TED Fellow, urban planner, artist and designer.

In a combined effort by the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) and CSU’s ASAP event planning organization, both the wall and Candy Chang will be on campus.

Although Chang is a TED fellow, her keynote speech tonight at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom is not an official TED talk and free to the public.

According to Eileen Salzman, CSU’s ASAP special events coordinator, Chang will speak on the effects of public art and how it can transform strangers into a community.

Afterward, Salzman hopes to show Chang the Before I Die wall CSU has created, which was officially introduced on Feb. 28.

The wall is located in the LSC between the Curfman Gallery and the Student Leadership, involvement, and Community Engagement office. It is the same concept as Chang’s other walls: a chalkboard with the repeated line “Before I die, I want to …” Anyone can walk up, grab a piece of chalk and write their hopes and dreams — serious or otherwise.

The project was introduced to CSU by the NRHH and created to inspire students to think about what they want to do with their lives.

“There are a lot of ways the people around us can help improve our lives,” Chang said during her July 2012 TED talk. “We don’t bump into every neighbor, so a lot of wisdom never gets passed on, though we do share the same public spaces.”

This is the same idea that NRHH and ASAP wanted to bring to CSU.

Ad

“It’s about understanding our neighbors in new and enlightening ways. It’s about making space for reflection and contemplation, and remembering what really matters most to us as we grow and change,” Chang said in her TED talk.

“This idea is new and interactive and sustainable so that it can continue to be worked on,” said Kyle Oldham, NRHH advisor.

Lory Student Center Governing Board advisor Tony Pang said this location was selected because it was a large hallway space and it was ideal to be on the main level of the student center for more student traffic to pass by the boards.

The wall will allow close to 100 students to write on it at one time, though the board is not restricted to just writing. According to Oldham, students can also draw on the board.

Although the wall is in a trial phase, it could become a permanent addition to the new LSC after renovations are completed.

“The benefit of this wall is that it gets students to start thinking about reality and about setting goals and start working towards them,” Oldham said.

Although inspiration is everywhere, it is thanks to Candy Chang that students will be able to write these goals and communicate them with others.

“[Students] can share and hold themselves accountable whether it is a whimsical or serious goal,” Oldham said. “They may be able to build a place of familiarity and can look forward to the future. They can look at what if and why couldn’t I do this? It really gets us thinking.”

“We are told so often what to do, so we don’t always do what we want,” Oldham added. “Now students can vocalize this and vocalize their path to go on. People can find and communicate with others who have the same goals as them. They can know that they have support, they can see that others that have the same goals and that they aren’t alone.”

“We want to let [Chang] see what she’s done for our campus,” said Naomi Lyle, president of NRHH.

Collegian Writers Taylor Pettaway and Mariah Wenzel can be reached at news@collegian.