The name F.A.S.T. is a perfect fit for Santa Clara University’s new Arts Ambassadors Program.
“The arts pass by very fast. Our goal is to slow students down so they can really learn to appreciate them,” said arts ambassador Savannah Foltz-Colhour ’14, who’s majoring in public health and minoring in dance.
F.A.S.T. stands for SCU’s Fine Arts Support Team, composed of Foltz-Colhour and fellow ambassadors Chris Zamarripa ’13 and Gabrielle Dougherty ’14, and dedicated to the promotion and support of all fine arts events on campus. As a whole, the three student ambassadors represent a wide range of the arts—from studio arts to dance and theatre.
According to Theatre and Dance Associate Professor David Popalisky, the arts committee recruited student ambassadors who could understand the arts across disciplines. Seven candidates were interviewed in the fall for the three positions.
“We didn’t want students who only know about theatre or only about music,” said Popalisky. “We wanted students who have a well-rounded understanding of arts as a whole.”
Funded by the Provost’s Office, F.A.S.T. launched in September. The idea, however, dates back a year and a half ago with Popalisky and Art and Art History Associate Professor Kathy Aoki. Popalisky stated that the arts committee wanted a personal way to reach out to students and encourage the growth of the arts on campus.
According to Zamarripa, the main goal of F.A.S.T. is to increase attendance to on-campus arts events, while stressing students’ support of one another.
“It’s very powerful when students are supporting other students, especially in the arts,” said Zamarripa, who’s studying studio art. “Having your friends watch you perform is comparable to scoring a winning goal in front of all your peers. Having all your friends cheering you on like that, it is just the best feeling.”
Another goal the arts ambassadors have is to pinpoint what people really want to see and what would get them interested in attending these fine arts events. Although they have only been a group for a few weeks, F.A.S.T. has already been hard at work with this.
“During ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ we put surveys in each program with questions about why students came to the play and what their goals are for on-campus arts,” said Dougherty, who’s double majoring in marketing and theatre arts.
To create a centralized source for the arts, the ambassadors launched a Facebook page for F.A.S.T.
F.A.S.T. is also producing t-shirts to communicate visually with students. The shirts will use a graphic design that Zamarripa created himself.
“Hopefully students will see their peers wearing these shirts and be intrigued to attend more arts events,” Zamarripa said. “It’s like a walking advertisement to have t-shirts.”