Updates on the 2020-2021 Academic Year
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Meet Your 2020 – 2021 VASA Leaders

VASA continues to engage the student body remotely and shares plans for next year.

April 15, 2020 by Michelle Mackin
Illustrations of four people, each in their own square.
Credit: Neil Madlener

Last month, SVA students voted the new Visual Arts Student Association (VASA) leaders for the 2020-2021 school year into office. Team Shape, as they are known, consists of President Bryce Berg (BFA Photography and Video), Vice President Matthew Montez (BFA Film), Treasurer Neil Madlener (BFA Cartooning) and Student Senate Chair Lauraine Laiano (BFA Film). And they have exciting plans for their term next year, including going-green initiatives and unifying the student body on campus. But since three of the members of this newly-re-elected team—Berg, Madlener and Montez—are currently in office this year along with Olivia Boryczewski (BFA Design), their main concern now is making sure that students feel connected while they’re apart during the coronavirus pandemic.

VASA represents the interests and needs of students at SVA, regardless of where students are. “We understand there are a lot of things going on in our peers' lives, behind the scenes at SVA and around the world,” says Berg. “So we’re trying to keep things as lighthearted as possible.”


Undergraduate students should be on the lookout for fun, virtual activities over the next few weeks, which are hosted by each major’s VASA Student Senator representative. Tomorrow, April 16, BFA Design students can tune into a virtual alumni Q&A about building an Instagram for your artwork, and BFA Illustration students can hear from faculty member Zohar Lazar about his career path. BFA Cartooning students have until this Friday, April 17, to take part in an OC art trade and BFA Animation is hosting an Anijam project for students of all majors, with a brainstorming session taking place this Saturday, April 18. Follow VASA on Instagram to stay updated on all upcoming events, like their Digital Finals Fair during finals week in May.

"Reshape SVA" is VASA's new environmentally focused initiative centering on climate change and going green on campus. Earlier this semester, VASA began providing students with quality reusable products like stainless steel water bottles and bamboo utensils to reduce the use of single-use plastics on campus. Remotely, VASA is hosting a climate change-themed exhibition, which will be displayed online this spring. Students can find guidelines and submit their themed work here by Sunday, April 19.


"We hope to unify our students through this message and get them excited for a brighter, 'greener' future," Montez says. Other ideas include devoting their entire swag budget to reusable materials, onboarding Moe's Cafe with the green initiative, and finding ways to make students' art more eco-friendly.


VASA is also the primary support for SVA's student clubs. Madlener, who has been working with SVA clubs throughout the 2019 – 2020 school year, says VASA plans to continue close communication while ensuring "all clubs are growing, collaborating, meeting their goals and reaching new audiences."


Above all, Team Shape intends to foster a greater sense of community and return strongly to SVA for the 2020 – 2021 academic year. "We care a lot about the future of SVA and the student body experience, and we want to make sure everyone feels involved, safe and connected," Berg says.