Graduation Stories: Student finds his passion for production through event organization at Rutgers
In his four years of service with the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA), Anthony Mollica has worked to bring stories, moments and events to the Rutgers community through his various roles.
The School of Arts and Sciences senior is graduating in May and leaving a community that he got involved with earlier on, following the suggestion of his first-year roommate.
“The first (RUPA) event I volunteered at was Bed Races,” Mollica said. “I just thought it was like ‘why are we shutting down the street to race beds down the street,’ and I thought that was the coolest thing.”
He said his roommate suggested RUPA to him and he got involved as a general member during his first year at Rutgers. He soon fell in love with the production aspect of the organization.
The next year, Mollica worked as an assistant director in the Department of Arts and Culture, where he helped plan lectures, masquerade balls and other events like a trip to Broadway. Mollica did not stop there. As a junior, he moved up to director in the Department of Arts and Culture, where he was in charge of a team and facilitated art-based events.
One memorable experience from his sophomore year was when RUPA brought Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York to the University, he said. That was early in his planning experience and brought challenges, such as rushing to accommodate everybody and changing venues due to large turnout.
“Seeing that all go down in real time and trying to accommodate all these people that were so excited to see him was amazing,” Mollica said. “And then finally being there that night and being with the committee and talking to Brandon that night, just being there was definitely memorable.”
This year he switched departments and became the assistant director of the Concerts Committee. He said that he was the lead coordinator for the Khalid concert at Rutgers and served as hospitality coordinator for the Metro Boomin show.
Mollica said he wants to go into event production after graduation, and that working at RUPA will help him in his future endeavors.
“I don’t know it’s like not really anything you can describe, it’s more of a feeling than it is like a tangible thing — and that’s what I love about it,” he said about putting on events and seeing everybody have a good time.
He said that one of his goals since he was a child is to be a part of the opening ceremony for the Olympics Games — something that he hopes to accomplish sometime down the road.
In the meantime, Mollica will be studying abroad in Italy this summer, he said.
Before he leaves Rutgers he offered some advice to the incoming students and new leadership at RUPA.
“Don’t resist the process and have fun, be creative, ask a lot of questions and just have fun — because RUPA will help you grow,” he said.
Mollica added that taking advice from his advisors at RUPA was something that helped him grow as a person at Rutgers. Going forward, he wants to continue pursuing his passions like he did while at Rutgers, he said.
“I definitely want to continue creating experiences for people, and create stories and moments,” Mollica said.