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USAC Officer Evaluation: Tara Steinmetz, Campus Events Commissioner

By Editorial Board

May 2, 2020 9:10 p.m.

The role of the Campus Events Commission is unique from other offices within the USAC – it’s apolitical. It’s a programming office, far removed from the toxicity of a partisan council.

Even so, it requires a lot of dedication and planning.

Council members were evaluated in these areas on a scale from one to five, with one being poor performance and five being excellent performance.

Which is why it was surprising that Tara Steinmetz stepped into the role without any platforms.

That being said, she made the most of her time within CEC by broadening the scope of representation in its programming. Though she may not have entered the commissioner role without the lofty goals and dozens of subpoints like other USAC candidates, she was able to integrate diversity and entertainment successfully for the benefit of the student body.

Steinmetz is a graduating fourth-year who is majoring in global studies. She has had extensive experience in marketing and entertainment, making her as well-suited for the role as one could be. That experience pays off – she doubled CEC’s media following during her tenure to reach more students on campus.

After having worked in the CEC office as the print marketing designer and print marketing director, she had developed tight bonds with her internal team to make CEC a well-oiled machine by the time she became commissioner.

And with a budget of over $300,000 to oversee, she ensured that money didn’t go to waste.

Students had been asking for more representation and diversity in Campus Events programming, and she listened. Films like “The Farewell” and “Just Mercy” were some of year’s biggest hits, in which conversations on race were navigated and brought to campus. Steinmetz especially honed in on programming central to empowering women, inviting “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom and writer and professor Laurie Mintz to discuss female sexuality.

Her biggest highlights included securing Jameela Jamil, actress from “The Good Place,” for a moderated Q&A on body positivity, and Ilana Glazer, comedian from “Broad City,” for a virtual Q&A after campus had shut down.

Partnering with the Student Wellness Commission helped Steinmetz balance entertainment with health and body positive discussions – a partnership that was much-needed on campus, and yielded high turnout.

Though anyone might dismiss her at first glance due to her lack of platforms, Steinmetz did the best with what she had. While the closure of campus disrupted many of the events she had hoped to bring to campus, she acted quickly to secure top talent to bring students entertainment at home during isolating times.

Steinmetz didn’t have to be a political figure on campus to make a difference. She has uplifted representation and diversity by navigating tough conversations on female empowerment and race through thoughtful programming, and has brought light to students’ lives even at home through Zoom. She laid a solid foundation for collaborating with other commissioners’ offices on joint events, fostering partnerships in USAC that were lacking.

And it was a difference well worth making.

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