Partnering Passion and Productivity
Pace student Giovanni “Gio” Lemus ’16 knows what it’s like to live passionately and with purpose. He shares his thoughts on the importance of getting involved, planning for the future, and inspiring the next generation.
Giovanni “Gio” Lemus ’16 has a lot on his plate, and he prefers it that way. “I’m the kind of person that likes to do lots of things, and when I was looking at schools, I felt like Pace was the best place to allow me to do that,” he says. Since he started at Pace, Lemus has served as a student coordinator at ASPIRE, a volunteer program at Pace that engages enthusiastic and well-informed students in a variety of recruiting activities for two years; has been an RA in the freshman dorms in Maria’s Tower; attempted a triple minor and double major, which he has since scaled back; and is currently making his latest mark as the president of the Dare Tactic, a nonprofit that embraces his love of theater, inspiring creativity, and his passion for social issues.
“We want to maximize the creative potential of people through performance,” Lemus says, mentioning several of the group’s pursuits: creating a series of Pace Talks, modeled after the TED Talk experience, which would allow students to discuss issues, interests, and hobbies they’re passionate about; on-campus flash mobs; contributing ensemble pieces on social-political issues to campus projects like the Human Trafficking Awareness week; and bringing the silent theater experience to the Pace Community. Previously, Dare Tactic created the giant “These Hands Don’t Hurt” mural in cooperation with Pace Housing for Sexual Assault Awareness Week; they’re looking forward to doing more positive work in that vein.
Lemus’ real passion, though, is education reform. He believes strongly that existing systems limit creativity and potential, and while one of his dreams as an actor is to be in a Broadway play, he is also working with fellow Pace student Erik di Giovanni ’15 on plans to create a prep school or program that would cater to an arts-centric approach.
“From a young age, we tend to curb creativity, and we tend to teach kids from the head up. The current hierarchy is math and linguistics at the top, and human interest studies and drama towards the bottom. When you create that kind of environment, it limits creativity. It curbs that potential. That’s why I want to create a prep school, or a performing arts school with a connection to Pace, that emphasizes creativity,” Lemus said. He wants his school to serve as a prep school for Pace, and to take advantage of Pace’s excellent performing arts program, fostering future generations of talented performers.
“Pace’s AOK (Area of Knowledge) system is super important for learning and creativity,” says Lemus. “People think that their interests are not interconnected, but they are. For example, if you’re an actor, people just think you need technique, but if you’re playing a character from the rural hills of Italy, you need to understand the language, the economics, the religion, the cultural norms from that area. And Pace helps you do that. Creativity and education go hand-in-hand.”
For someone who’s accomplished so much in his time at Pace, and has plans to do even more once he graduates, Lemus has some very simple advice for freshmen or anybody else looking to make the most of their time at Pace. “Definitely get involved if you haven’t already. In order to take advantage of your experience, you need to know your options, and the best way to do that is to get involved. And whatever you want to do, it’s all here—whatever you want to do, Pace can help.”
Want to know more about Gio and his work with the Dare Tactic? Click here to visit them on Facebook. And check out the Dare Tactics upcoming shows: Fires in the Mirror on October 9–11 and Bonnie and Clyde on November 13–15.
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