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RUPA member discusses planning, collaboration behind 'Spread the Love' event

The flowers for the Rutgers University Programming Association's (RUPA) “Spread the Love” event were sourced from a wholesaler and procured from a local business. – Photo by The Yard @ College Ave / Instagram

Yesterday, the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) hosted “Spread the Love,” an event in which participants made recycled flower bouquets, according to the organization’s website.

The event, which took place at The Yard @ College Avenue, used recycled newspapers donated by The Medium, a student-run satire publication at the University.

Jasmine Meesupwattana, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior and director of RUPA’s marketing committee, said the idea for “Spread the Love” originated from a direct message that the organization’s Instagram account received. The message suggested an event that provided fresh flowers to students who cannot otherwise access them, she said.

“I proposed it on the day when we presented and then on the PowerPoint, (I said) how I wanted the event to be and how much money we allocate for the event, the location, time, date and all that,” she said. “And everyone was kind of hype about it and excited.”

Meesupwattana said that once the event was approved, she began planning it in March, prior to spring break. She said she sought out vendors for the flowers as well as the display cart. She eventually sourced the flowers from a wholesaler and procured the cart from a local business.

In terms of wrapping the bouquets, Meesupwattana said she wanted the flowers to be wrapped in newspaper, similar to current trends. She began her search by reaching out to RUPA council members and contacts and trying to find old prints of The Daily Targum.

Meesupwattana said she was unable to find any prints of the Targum due to the digital format of the paper, and her other contacts did not respond or could not provide her with newspaper prints.

She said she ultimately came across The Medium one day when she was on her way to RUPA’s office and saw prints of their paper on a table. After reaching out to them, she said she was able to collect older newspapers that they printed.

In addition to using old newspapers, Meesupwattana said that while planning the event, she wanted to try and use materials RUPA has already collected in the past instead of buying more.

“I wanted to see how can I make an event to reuse things that we already have,’” she said. “So we don't waste more and go buy more because I hate when we buy so much stuff and it just sits there.”

Meesupwattana said that she personally lives a minimalistic lifestyle and avoids excessive purchasing and tries to reflect that in her work with RUPA as well.

Throughout the process, she said she had help from her assistant directors in the marketing committee and fellow RUPA members, who helped her make choices, pick up supplies and prepare certain materials, such as cutting stems for flowers and putting them in water.

“If I need help, I reach out. There’s no one-person thing,” she said. “In RUPA, we all help each other to bring our events to life."

The event itself is about spreading love to people, yourself and the planet, Meesupwattana said. She said that hosting the event in springtime ties to the ideas of fresh flowers and nature and appreciating nature’s gifts.

“It's like spreading happiness, spreading joy, like brightening students’ days,” she said. “Having the fresh flowers and (allows students) to make these bouquets and have a fun time with friends or by themselves (while) also spreading the love of where you're living, which is on Earth.”

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