Student programming leaders give back to Duquesne

Courtesy of Adam Wasilko | Adam Wasilko (left) and Ashley Kane (right) work together to help make Duquesne a home away from home.

Emily Fritz | Staff Writer

Oct. 20, 2022

Whether this is your first or last semester, or somewhere in between, it’s impossible to say that you haven’t, at some point, attended an event sponsored by Duquesne Program Council (DPC).

Who can we thank for inviting us to celebrate our Duquesne spirit and community? That would be Dr. Adam Wasilko, Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, and Ashley Kane, Assistant Director of Programming and Freshman Development.

As the unknown and unsung heroes of student programming, Wasilko and Kane work closely together to ensure that every Duke has a positive experience while pursuing higher education.

Wasilko tackles several responsibilities, orientation, disability services, Greek life, student programming and student organizations, commuter affairs, student union operations, student life assessment, parent relations, and student government.” As many may recall, he annually delivers the “History of the Spiritans” talk at Orientation Week.

A Duquesne alumnus himself, Wasilko originally received his degree in chemistry in 2008, receiving his master’s in 2010. While partnering with the Office of Residence Life during his graduate studies, he realized that “[his] true passion was student development and Duquesne itself.”

“I think our Duquesne students are so giving, selfless and caring. Having the chance to work with them during their time on the Bluff is so meaningful to me.”

For Wasilko, it is most fulfilling to facilitate student growth and assist them through their journey with the university.

Wasilko’s impact on the campus communities span over a decade of dedication in the Freshman Advisement Summer Transition (FAST) program and Orientation. “[During] my first year in office I added the late-night programming, Title IX trainings and other parents of the orientation program we have today.”

More than anything though, Wasilko is known on-campus for the interpersonal relationships that he creates with students.

“I have an extremely open-door policy and love when students stop in to vent about school or daily life or share in their successes.”

He is also well-loved and respected amongst his colleagues, according to Kane.

“Adam is not just a supervisor, or boss in general – he is a mentor and someone I truly look up to in the professional world of higher education.”

“He keeps up with the trends of our students, makes time for conversation and is always willing to put in the work whether that means submitting a report to the senior VP of student life, or handing out candy during the first week of classes,” Kane said.

Kane, whose responsibilities focus on first-year student experiences, also lends her talents to the Center for Student Involvement, Duquesne Program Council, Homecoming and Conference and Event services, to name a few.

Like Wasilko, what sparks the most joy for Kane is the opportunity to assist in student development.

“I absolutely love seeing the freshmen that come and turn into the most amazing student leaders during their sophomore, junior or senior year. Seeing this growth happen is just so impactful to me as a professional, and I feel so lucky to watch them flourish while at Duquesne.”

Kane exudes the utmost pride in Duquesne University, confident that “everyone can find their ‘something’ to get involved with,” Kane said. “And when that happens, and it clicks, the options for student leadership are limitless.”

Although she was never a Duquesne student, Kane stresses the importance of community building and becoming involved with campus organizations. Kane is also a leading advocate for helping students exercise their autonomy when planning events.

Programming and event planning is a passion that Kane holds within her role and continues to pass on to the students that she helps. She refers to this planning, approval and communication of student organization events the “in the weeds” portion of her role.

“If they are super excited about an event that they’re planning but not so confident in execution, I want them to talk to me so they can feel empowered to put on a successful event. I really just want my students to know that I believe in them and their purpose at the university.”

During her time on campus, Kane has streamlined processes, allowing students “to excel three-fold,” she said. Kane emphasized individualized interactions with students as well, saying that “conversation creates a sense of belonging.”

“Ashley is amazing to work with,” Wasilko said. “She effortlessly understands student affairs and student programming.”

“She has a true passion for helping students program and develop their leadership skills on campus. Some people just naturally have that gift, and Ashley is one of them.”