"We are UWTacoma" storytelling

October 22, 2019

UW Tacoma: A ‘Dynamic’ Place to Connect

This summer, we had the opportunity to interview Zvon Casanova, a 2016 UW Tacoma Alumni who currently works as the Program Assistant for the Department of Student Engagement in the University Y Student Center. When we asked him to describe UW Tacoma using one word, he said, “I would say dynamic. That’s the very first word that comes to my mind.” As he described his experiences here at UWT and reflected on his time here, the word “dynamic” was repeated and expanded. 

One of the things Casanova reflected on during his interview were the many changes he has seen since first becoming a student here in 2012. “I came here at a really awesome time because the YMCA wasn’t built yet, and I think the Joy Building was just built at the time. It’s just amazing to see how dynamic this campus is and how much it’s grown since.” And this growth has not just occurred on the campus itself but has even spread into the surrounding city of Tacoma. “The population is growing,” he noted. “You’re getting all of these folks coming from multiple areas and regions. I’m in Tacoma back and forth enough these past few years to really see how dynamic and diverse it’s gotten.” This is a sentiment that has been expressed regularly and consistently over the course of this project – Tacoma is changing, and UW Tacoma has played a pivotal role in those changes. 

When we asked him about his experiences studying Communications, he explained how the interdisciplinarity of his courses contributed to the dynamic nature of the campus as a whole and provided an incredibly well-rounded education. 

“The subjects you learn about are multi-faceted. You hear these multiple perspectives from the students, as well as faculty, and then the staff that you connect with. It’s like a diverse intellectual mindset from each person, especially if they are coming from different universities or institutions, and you really get to take that perspective in account with the stuff that you’re learning inside the classroom. So, I would say my education here was very expansive. Even up until today as a staff…I’m learning from so many folks from other institutions and hearing their experiences with their education and what they learned. It’s still stimulating. It really motivates you to learn more. It really opens your mind.” 

Casanova believes the dynamic nature of this campus extends beyond the classroom and into the extra-curricular aspects of UW Tacoma. At one point, he shared with us his passion for encouraging students to be actively involved on campus – a passion which began during his New Student Orientation when he attended a workshop on student involvement, which was led by the Dean of Students, Ed Mirecki. 

During his freshman year Casanova’s peer advisors from Orientation encouraged him to become involved with the Student Activities Board, and they provided him with other resources and ways to be involved on campus. It was their dedication and passion for involvement that led Casanova to become a peer advisor himself the following year. “It was definitely a great experience. You connect with so many folks and you build such strong relationships with the folks here on campus.The people I connected with through all these years at UW, they were able to challenge me to come out of my comfort zone and really be more than who I am.” 

For Casanova, being involved on campus provides the opportunity to form connections and create relationships with people who you may not get the opportunity to interact with on a day-to-day basis. He strongly encourages every student to explore different RSOs and opportunities on campus, to “challenge yourself to really broaden your world and your network – to get involved with all these organizations. Just take time, a couple minutes, to stop by and connect with folks, because it can start with a simple ‘hi,’ but you never know where it might take you.” 

Given how dynamic and ever-changing UW Tacoma is, Casanova is curious to see what the future holds for the campus and its students. “You know, it makes you wonder how the campus is going to grow and how it’s going to tailor itself to that growth around campus. I do hope for the best with Tacoma and its legacy and the students.” He reflected briefly on Commencement and how profound and bittersweet it was to see the future generations, the future leaders, go across the stage knowing who they are, what they’re passionate about, and the impact they want to make on the world. “I’m curious to see how the next 5-7 years go.” 

Zvon Casanova was right to describe UW Tacoma as dynamic. We are a campus that is full of energy and new ideas, constantly changing, diverse, and progressive. We are dynamic in our academic and extra-curricular programs, and we strive for change and diversity in everything we do. 

~ Rachel Howe