By Phillip Davis
At 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, McKenzie, Wilks Halladay, and Rebecca freshman Student Government Association Senators Mac Bouldin, Julie Glenn, Grant Lobach unveiled their “Before I Die” board project along the walkway between the Bishop’s Common and Stirling’s Coffee. The first 21 people to arrive also received gift cards to Stirling’s worth one medium coffee. SGA Secretary Lam Ho (C ’17) began by giving a brief history of “Before I Die” boards, which started as the personal project of artist Candy Chang after the death of someone very close to her. After getting permission from the city, she put up the first “Before I Die” board on an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood as a way of thinking about “what really matters most to us, as we grow and change,” in Chang’s own words. On this note, Ho explained that she wanted this board to help the Sewanee community interact “on a level deeper than just asking ‘how are you today?’” She also noted that there are now over a thousand of these boards all over the world. These include boards “in over 35 languages and over 70 countries,” according to Chang’s website.
Next, Glenn briefly expressed her gratitude to other SGA senators for making the project successful. She also noted that the hardest part of that success was actually getting the board, which is made of three separate and very large pieces of black-spraypainted plywood, to its location. Then she turned over the chalk to Ho, who christened the board with her own personal aspiration.
Overall, though Stirling’s gift cards were still being handed out when the author left, the relatively small turnout contributed to what Stephanie Rodriguez (C ’19) described as a “very intimate setting.” And certainly this sentiment will be reinforced many times over as more Sewanee students write their hopes and dreams for their peers to consider.