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Staff Members Leverage Passions in Late-Night Programming for Students
Long after most Syracuse University employees have headed home, the work day is just revving up for others. From residence life to campus facilities, there are folks working around the clock to make sure Syracuse University students have an unsurpassed student experience at all hours.
At the center of late-night programming are three staff members in the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience who manage Orange After Dark (OAD), Late Night at the Rink and Late Night at the Gym:
- Lorena Silva, program coordinator in the Office of Student Activities;
- Aaron Landers, programming and Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion coordinator in Recreation Services; and
- Aaron Knighton, assistant director of late night and special events in Recreation Services.
We caught up with Silva, Knighton and Landers to find out more about their efforts to offer students fun, healthy activities during the wee hours.
Silva works nearly every Friday and Saturday night (sometimes Thursday, too) to bring free or cost-effective programming to students on and off campus. From red carpet movie premieres to snow tubing to grocery bingo to trampoline parks, OAD provides a variety of programming for students across campus. Supporting Silva is an OAD programming board, composed of student volunteers. Once on the board, students grow professionally and, most importantly to them, they find Silva. Often referred to as “mom” by the students, Silva’s mentorship and late nights with the students create the unique atmosphere that is OAD.
Landers is a self-declared “rink rat,” who finds comfort on the Zamboni or skating around Tennity. When joining Recreation Services, he had not been involved with the programming side of the rink. Now, he stays late into the night implementing multiple programs a week for students of all skating experience levels. Leveraging the existing programming and expanding options, Landers has found fulfillment in watching others experience what he and his student employees create together. Namely, every Friday and Saturday night from 9 p.m. to midnight, Recreation Services hosts Late Night at the Rink. Along with the free skate, Tennity is expanding its curling and adaptive skating sport opportunities.
Growing up in Syracuse, Knighton always saw Syracuse University as “the dream.” Fast forward years later, he is leading the University’s recreational late night programming and special events. Late Night at the Gym offers students opportunities to play their favorite sport or learn a new activity Wednesday through Saturday from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. in Flanagan Gym. A new, exciting partnership with the Department of Athletics has given Knighton the opportunity to grow a new late night option: Late Night at the Melo Center. Students can use the basketball courts at the Melo Center for pick-up basketball on Tuesday and Thursdays from 8 to 11 p.m. Managing more than 100 student employees, Knighton focuses on investing in the professional and personal development of his students, as well as the students that attend his programs.
Joyce LaLonde, internal communications specialist; Francis DiClemente, producer; Mary Kasprzyk, editor; and Alex DeRosa, director of multimedia—all in the Division of Marketing and Communications—teamed up to tell this Staff Spotlight story.