UMass Amherst Student Creates ‘Stranger Things’ Wall You Can Send Messages To

Caleb Kussmaul, right, and his roommate Joshua Beck take a selfie in front of the Stranger Things board in their dorm room at UMass-Amherst.

By Ana Goñi-Lessan
BU News Service

The Christmas lights on the wall of Caleb Kussmaul’s dorm are spelling out messages. A yellow bulb lights up: I. Then a pink bulb: N. Eventually, it spells out “internship.” 

But these words aren’t coming from the Upside Down like they are in “Stranger Things” (season two of which will be released on Friday). They are coming from the Internet.

In homage to the hit Netflix series, Caleb Kussmaul, a junior computer science student at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, made his own alphabet and Christmas light wall over the TV in his dorm room and hooked it up to a broken 2008 Macbook Pro.

He posted a link to Reddit that lets anyone online submit a message. The link hit the front page of Reddit with more than 21,000 upvotes and had more than 48,000 live viewers on YouTube.

“I thought it would be a fun thing to do the moment I saw it in the show,” Kussmaul said. “I always look for ideas for new projects.”

Kussmaul hopes the project gains enough attention to get him an internship at Reddit this summer. During the live feed, he taped a sheet of paper to the TV that said “Internship pls.”

“Honestly, I think if anyone should get it, it’s him,” said Joshua Beck, Kussmaul’s roommate.

When the “Stranger Things Board” launched, Kussmaul received messages from friends and family.

“I got some really nice things from people I haven’t connected with in a long time,” he said. “It was a wonderful feeling to read old inside jokes one letter at a time. It felt like they were so much closer than if they just sent a text or something.”

Some messages originated from as far away as Berlin.

His roommate said that, of Kussmaul’s projects, this is one of the first he has been able to understand.

“But man,” Beck said. “It’s cluttering my desk.”

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