With UPUA elections today, we spoke with each of the candidates for student body president to learn more about their experience with the arts and what they plan to do for arts organizations if elected.
What do you foresee as the largest issues for arts organizations on campus?What impact have the arts had on your personal, academic, and professional life?
Geisinger: Throughout my entire life, prior to coming to Penn State, I was known to most as being a dancer. When applying to college I had full intentions of double-majoring in Biology and Psychology and minoring in Dance. Unfortunately, my first semester took me by surprise and I had not realized the extent to which my studies and involvements with other organizations would take up my time. At Penn State, if you want to be a part of the Dance Program, you must apply and try-out all within your first semester here and most dance organizations hold practices at the late hours of the night- during which I dedicate my time to student government involvements.
Dance is very much the activity that has always been my peace of mind. Throughout my entire life I have had a passion for the arts in all walks- dance, musical, bands, orchestra, etc. Although I am unable to participate in these activities myself at the moment, I plan to re-involve myself post-graduation when I have more time to myself.
Jordan: For me personally, something I have always admired about Penn State is its talent. Whether that be talent in the classroom, talent on the playing field or talent within the arts. After being someone who's been involved in musical groups in high school, I was excited when I got to Penn State to see that the arts were held to a high standard. Being able to be at virtually any event on campus whether it be convocation or a night of remembrance for our lost students, music is always present in the Penn State community. Having this access makes me extremely thankful and has heightened my appreciate ion for the arts, especially at Penn State. And Alex completely agrees with this! For him as a former marching and concert band member, he was astounded at how the arts at Penn State are incorporated into daily life.
What do you foresee as the largest issues for arts organizations on campus?
Geisinger: In my opinion, and the opinion of many representatives on my ticket, the biggest issue facing the arts organizations at Penn State is that the the communities seem to be extremely cut off from the rest of our student organizations.
What I have learned from my involvement in Penn State Lion Ambassadors is that there are immense ways for our arts organizations on campus to be showcased at other organization events. I think that a majority of our students do not recognize the extent to which we have developed organizations, programs and classes for the arts. Not only do we need to make the entire Penn State community aware of these entities, but we also need to make sure they appreciate them.
Jordan: Based on comments heard from performing groups, I noticed that one of the issues groups face is space for practicing. For example, I know many offices for preforming organizations are in the HUB, but when it comes to performing this may not be the best place where members feel comfortable. Furthermore, we know traveling to perform can be costly. Students should always have the opportunity to travel with their organization if they would like to show their talents, and Alex and I want to work with ASA in the future to make sure organizations have the resources to do so.
During your term with UPUA, how do you plan to strengthen the arts at Penn State?
Geisinger: Something that we have already begun discussing as a team is ways in which we can help organizations, specifically the arts organizations, get in stronger contact and build closer relationships with one another. In preliminary endorsement meetings, we had the opportunity to ask specific questions to performance organizations about what they would like to see their relationship look like with UPUA in the future. One thing that we talked about was the development of a system that would work alongside what is currently in place with ASA, so that students are not fronting their own money for materials being used by the organization.
It is also important to remember that arts can not be arts without an audience. In order for the programs we have here to be as successful as they possibly can, we must ensure that students are interested in being that audience. In my opinion, it is UPUA’s responsibility to ensure that each student organization is reaching the highest level of success as possible. For the art’s organization this means helping them get the word out about events, helping spread the message of importance about the arts and our arts organizations, and developing a solid working relationship in the future.
Jordan: One ideal I am most passionate about in this world is collaboration. Collaboration is the key to success, and I can see performing organizations playing an essential role in reaching this goal. I plan to incorporate organizations in the conversation more. What better way to promote outreach than to have preforming organizations involved. Further, we mentioned working with ASA to ensure that all organizations have access to their funding. We know that it can be difficult for performing arts student organizations when they have to front their personal money to travel.