‘Get a Google co-op,’ ‘Have fun,’ ‘Push hard.’ Northeastern students pen wishes to their future selves and university’s next 125 years

Founders Day mural on the Boston campus.
Students got a chance to share a message to their future selves and Northeastern on a mural in honor of Northeastern University’s 125th birthday. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Strolling down the ISEC Pedestrian Bridge on Tuesday was more than just a nice walk through campus, but a journey back in time.

In honor of Founders Day, the warm brown metal interior of the bridge was adorned with black and white panels depicting the history of Northeastern University. The panels started with 1898 when Northeastern was founded and spanned to the present day, with highlights like the establishment of the co-op program (1909), the year Northeastern adopted the husky as its mascot (1927), and when the Paws mascot as we know it was adopted (2003). Intermingled among these were panels marking the opening of new campuses and founding of campus cultural groups.

Messages written in white ink on a red background of the mural: Happy Birthday huskies, I am awesome, Go Succeed, Good luck and success!, Remember to have fun, Go Huskies!
Students got a chance to share a message to their future selves and Northeastern on a mural in honor of Northeastern University’s 125th birthday. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

At the end of the bridge, students, staff and faculty got a chance to look ahead with an interactive art project: a mural where they could pen a wish to their future self and the next 125 years of Northeastern.

Many students wrote their hopes for the academic year or after graduation. 

“I will get a Google co-op,” read one. 

“I will pass my classes and have fun!” read another.

Alya Adara, a fourth-year business administration/finance/health care consulting major graduating in December shared a message to her fellow students in their final semester: “You’ve made it this far. Keep your head up and push hard.” 

The mural also gave her the chance to reflect on what the school’s given her.

“Northeastern’s helped me a lot,” she said. “I came here fairly shy. Joining tour guides and the Husky Ambassadors, I ended up being super extroverted. Also, co-op gave me a lot of (insight) on what I want to do after graduation.”

Cecilia Pagana, an undecided major with the class of 2025, wrote a message to her fellow Huskies encouraging them to embrace life at Northeastern outside academics.

Northeastern, while focused on academics, has encouraged this, Pagana said, whether it was dorm activities like pumpkin painting and apple picking that her RAs organized when she began at the school or the Founders Day celebrations happening around her.

“Some people say it’s the best time of our lives,” she said. “But if you don’t look up from your books every once in a while, you’re going to miss it.”

Other students like Sophia Nguyen, a second-year electrical engineering/biomedical engineer, shared their hopes for the future of Northeastern.

“(I hope Northeastern) keeps growing and stays true to its roots,” she said. “Having all these different pathways for students to explore their own journey has been so helpful to me. I came in as a freshman with a totally different idea of what I’d do over my four-year journey. (I) like the fact that we have come up with these different ways for students to figure out themselves.”

Amy Yang, a fourth-year graphic and informational design major, said she hopes Northeastern continues to grow, especially outside the Boston campus.

“I’d definitely love to see some expansion,” she said. “There’s a lot of places globally. If we can better those programs, that’s good.”

The three-panel exhibit was still being painted in shades of black, blue, pink and yellow as students came up to sign their wishes. Katie Bergeron and Jamie Varasconi from thecollab, the artistic duo hired to come and craft the mural, said they designed the mural so it can be displayed as a whole or split into three pieces to be shown in different spots around campus.

“We tend to use a lot of colors to spark joy,” Bergeron said. “We like the way these colors play off Northeastern’s iconic red and white but bring in warmth.”

Erin Kayata is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email her at e.kayata@northeastern.edu. Follow her on Twitter @erin_kayata.