It’s midterm season, not only politically but also in the semester, and the Students’ Association President and Vice President have been working to fulfill the campaign promises that they laid out in their platform last semester.
When SA President and junior Scott Strenger and Vice President and senior Ashley Haluck-Kangas were elected into office last spring, they outlined several initiatives, from an emphasis on improved academic advising to furthering school spirit in programs like Fill Fauver and Sell Out Strong. While these ideas haven’t all come to fruition, they have been working on re-vamping programs that already existed under former SA President Eric Weissmann ’10, building upon them and taking steps to institute their own innovative programs.
“What I’ve done in the past six months is taken [Weissmann’s] programs, re-evaluated every single one of them and said ‘This one was great, can it succeed further?’” Strenger said. “The question I ask myself is not how they can be good this year, but I ask myself how can these programs be great next year and the year after.”
Sustainability is a theme that comes up in many of the programs in which the SA has put their effort this semester. The Fill Fauver program, now three years old, rallies students around UR’s athletic teams. But to make it even more successful, the SA has created a mission statement, bought three T-shirt sling shots and is talking to various groups, including Wilson Commons activities board and Athletics, to further grow the program. The goal is to keep it around, even as an independent program of the SA.
The program that was to follow suit in the Fill Fauver/Pack the Palestra vein, Sell Out Strong, was a way that Strenger and Haluck-Kangas proposed to promote the performance groups on campus. But in looking through the ticket sales from the past five years, which have remained consistent, the presidential team realized they could use their resources more productively.
“We decided to evaluate ticket sales for performance events on campus … to determine if our Sell Out Strong, as we proposed it, would really benefit the student body,” Haluck-Kangas said. “[We] decided to start looking at other ways to help performance groups in their programming.”
One way the SA hopes to promote and connect student performance groups, as well as the Eastman School of Music and the River Campus, is through the Experience Eastman program. It has existed before, yet this semester there has been a substantial effort to bring groups together to collaborate, and not just apply funding for transportation to Eastman shows.
The SA also took on discrimination this semester in the “Tolerance Isn’t Enough” pledge, where students joined together to foster a campus-wide environment of not only tolerance but also acceptance. It served as a public statement of unity, which the SA continually tries to promote in all aspects of student life.
And what Strenger wanted to emphasize to UR was the sense of community between the SA and the lifeblood of the University — the students.
“We’re listening,” he said, referring to the receptive attitude of the SA. “And we’re not only listening, we’re acting. … While I may be in a position of authority, where I work closely with administrators, I am still very much your peer. I’m a regular student, who attends classes, gets my work done and spends my free time pursuing my passion of working closely with my peers and improving the quality of student life on campus.”
Olfano is a member of
the class of 2012.

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