July 20, 2019 | 78° F

Back to School Block Party kicks off eventful year of programming for RUPA

Photo by Malaika Jawed |

With live music, food and giveaways, the Back to School Block Party drew hundreds of students to The Yard @ College Avenue. The Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) has numerous events coming up this semester, including Scarlet Harvest in October.

The Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) held its annual "Back to School Block Party" last Thursday at The Yard @ College Avenue.

RUPA events revolve around bringing the student body together and creating pride for the school, as well as creating the college experience for everyone, said Mason Plotts, a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior.

Plotts, who is the assistant director of RUPA and is part of the traditions and community as well as the marketing group of the organization, said the annual block party is a great way to kick off the year because it provides a great example of who RUPA is and what they represent. 

Various activities were also available for students to partake in.

“Throughout the day, we have had different bands as well as DJs. We’ve had live music as well as free giveaways. We’ve had do-it-yourself game day t-shirts, free milkshakes, poster sales and chairs scattered all around so people can just come, hang out, and enjoy The Yard,” Plotts said.

The turnout, as well as the location for this year's block party, was different than that of previous years, he said. 

This is the first year RUPA is holding the event in The Yard, so they are transitioning the block party from Livingston to The Yard. RUPA plans to combine several of their events, such as the milkshake event and the block party, into one mega event, Plotts said.

“It looks like we’ve had more people come out this year just because of the attraction of The Yard, the free giveaways, as well as the event being right in front of (the Scott Hall bus stop),” Plotts said.

Rashmi Pradhan, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, came to the event after seeing an event page for it on Facebook.

“What made me come out here today was the Facebook event. The way they made it seem was really cool,” Pradhan said.

Pradhan said he thinks (the block party) is a good representation of how Rutgers tries to make the first week fun by holding activities like this.

RUPA and the variety of events it hosts throughout the school year have also impacted certain students and inspired them to become part of the organization.

RUPA believes in the power of out-of-class experiences and those that really shape one's undergraduate experience. This block party gets everyone in the back-to-school mode, said Annie Zhang, School of Arts and Sciences junior and the director of marketing for RUPA.

“I wanted to get involved in shaping the student body and the experience. It’s amazing how much 40 students on (a) council can do,” Zhang said.

Students can still join RUPA if they are interested.

“The way to join RUPA is to come to an interest meeting, which is done every other week on every campus,” Zhang said.

Students who are seriously considering the organization can also look out for the application process.

“There is an application process come February to be on the council. But you could also be a general member helping out, giving ideas and more,” Plotts said. “We post all of our events as well as ways to get involved on our social media.”

Those who enjoyed Thursday’s block party or any other RUPA-hosted events can look forward to what the organization has planned in the coming months, he said.

RUPA still has their 10th-anniversary homecoming event recess, which they may be transitioning to Livingston, Plotts said. They are also hosting Scarlet Harvest in October on Cook campus, which is an outdoor event with live music, free food, games and a mechanical bull.

They will also give away free donuts and cider during finals, and have a large concert in October. This is just a few of the events planned for the future, he said.

"I feel that RUPA is a really good student organization and I’ll definitely be attending their events in the future," Pradhan said.

Akhil Gumidyala

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