STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
In August, LaTasha Stiger concluded her six-year tenure as the Director of Campus Programming at Drake University and went off to “look for some more challenges” elsewhere. The search for her replacement has reached its conclusion. Marina Verlengia was hired to take over the position and will starts today.
Verlengia left her old position in Florida, working for Disney and ESPN, to come to Drake.
Tony Tyler, the Olmsted Center operations director, headed the search, through the application and interview process.
“Some things that were key … were experience in programming,” Tyler said.
Tyler also examined Verlengia’s ability to work with campus organizations, especially the Student Activities Board (SAB), which she will head in addition to diversity and multi-cultural groups, which she advise.
SAB President, Adam Graves mentioned that Stiger would often ask organizations, “Can I help you with anything?” and was involved all over campus. He hopes that her replacement will do the same.
Tyler is excited for Verlengia to join the Drake family.
“(She will bring) a really great perspective coming from Disney and ESPN… a little bit (of a) different slant on things,” Tyler said.
Both Graves and Tyler mentioned how one of the prerequisites for the position was experience working with university students, which Verlengia has.
At Disney, one of her main roles was coordinating the park’s many college interns. On top of that, she received a degree in marketing from University of Central Florida and later earned a master’s in sports management.
When she arrives on campus, she starts immediately as her first day is in the midst of Homecoming Week planning. However, once the initial excitement calms down, she has more planning to look forward to. “(Verlengia) would be helping with orientation,” Graves said, but, “the majority of the role is SAB.”
Drake student Evan Benjamin weighed in on what direction he wants the new director to take with campus programs.
“I want social opportunities that are also interesting,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin expressed that he did not want any more mixers, but he would like more engagement in the activities.
He mentioned that Taste of Des Moines, an SAB event, fulfilled this criteria well, and he looks forward to more events like it.
This aligns with Graves’s view of the position. He thinks Verlengia will be effective at “bringing in change.”
Graves believes that Verlengia can “(add) a new twist to them (programs) or new ways to implement them and not just finding events on campus that are programmed just to program, actually making an impact on the students and actually having a reasoning why we’re having these events.”
Tyler and Graves hope that Verlengia brings something new to Drake and successfully fills the shoes left behind by Stiger.