Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
Relationship Status: Single right now.
HC: You’ve been involved recently with the Western Filmmaker’s Association?
Stando: Yeah, I joined this year. I wasn’t involved in the shooting of The Day Job but I helped coordinate the debut. I also just recently finished casting for our TV series project, Schemers.
HC: Can you tell us a bit about Schemers?
Stando: It’s sort of like Community plus It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; it’s about five college students who come up with plans to make money or get all A’s, things like that. We’ve written the first episode and we’re working on the second, but we haven’t started filming yet. We’re thinking about ‘airing’ the episodes online, but we’d also like to talk with the University about maybe airing it on their stations; it’s still really early for that, though.
HC: You’ve also worked in journalism; for us at Her Campus for a few articles, then the crime beat reporter for the Western Herald and now you’re working at the Kalamazoo Gazette: what were some of the most interesting stories you had to cover?
Stando: The best story I’ve had for the Gazette was about this brown paper bag left on the steps of the courthouse. Because of where it was and what it looked like, someone phoned it in to the Sheriff’s office and the bomb squad got called in. It turned out it was cookies. I mean, everything they did was the right thing to do, but it was just so hilarious. The first question I asked when I called the undersheriff for the article was if he knew what flavor the cookies were.
HC: Did he?
Stando: He said he thought they were chocolate chip.
HC: What did you do as crime reporter for the Herald?
Stando: Every Friday I’d go down to the station and get the report. A lot of the things on it would be things like requests for safe rides or being called out because someone thought they smelled pot, but there was no evidence; there were usually one or two interesting things though. It helped that I knew people at the station, and I knew a witness from the Copper Beech shooting.
HC: You have a blog.
Stando: Two, actually. The longer-running and more well-known of the two is Sandwichtalk, where I review various sandwiches, mostly from chain restaurants but some from local places as well. I started it as a way to keep myself writing. The newer project, Gentleman Behold!!, is more of a pop culture, movies and television sort of thing. I mean, I love sandwiches, but I also want to write about other things sometimes. I’m fairly behind on both, but I plan on writing more for them this week.
HC: You have a long history with the Western Student Association and the Campus Activities Board, what are some of your greatest accomplishments there?
Stando: I served on a lot of committees for things in WSA: compensation review, twice on the Elections Control Board and I’ve worked on a few pieces of legislation. What makes me proudest, though, is the meetings where we really do some good; the meetings where we aren’t just rubber-stamping things but where we also aren’t wasting time. As for CAB, when I started as Miller Movie coordinator we were still playing movies off VHS tapes. It was a hassle to deal with making sure we got the tapes on time, keeping the box and return label and the quality wasn’t very good because it was VHS. So I worked with the company we got our movies through and Miller Auditorium to get a digital projector installed, and now we stream our movies from the company’s website in full, digital quality.
HC: You have a question you’re famous for?
Stando: It started as a serious thing and now is kind of a running joke in WSA, or in CAB or really any election I’m at. I always ask people “Do you have the time available to commit to this position?” Which is really a softball, because for most people they just say “Yes” and go on to list their other obligations, but for those people who do say “No, but I plan to try my hardest” they get points for honesty. The best response I ever got for this was from a Freshman in CAB who was up for a position. Everyone else had just said “Yes” but she said “I wouldn’t be up here if I didn’t have the time.”
HC: You’re a Senior, graduation is in about nine weeks. What’s next for you?
Stando: I don’t really know. Journalism is a shrinking field, and so I guess I’ll go where the jobs are. I know some smaller local publications I might be able to work for.
HC: Any goals or dreams?
Stando: Actually, I’m a finalist in Last Bronco Standing, and I get to mark one thing off my bucket list there: walking on stage with a theme song playing. I haven’t picked the song yet, but I’ve always wanted to do it. And I’d love to write for the New York Times.
HC: Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom?
Stando: It’s really easy to be involved; you don’t need tons of experience. I’ve held a lot of positions in a lot of organizations and it’s usually showing up and offering to help that makes more of a difference than what leadership retreats you’ve been to. Anyone can be involved here at Western.
Editor: Samantha Sandler