Dedicated artist, elite athlete
Erik van Ingen '12 knew he wanted to make movies as soon as he saw an action sports documentary of extreme skiing when he was in western Canada, where he was competing in a ski race 3,000 miles from home.
"From there I thought, that's pretty cool," he says. "That's something I want to do: be able to document something and relay a thought or an interpretation of an event from my mind through the lens to the screen."
He was 12 at the time.
Today, van Ingen is a cinema major and one of the most successful runners in Binghamton University history: he holds the school record for the mile (3:57.11) and is the first runner in program history to qualify for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. He was also named to the 2011 America East Academic Honor Roll.
This summer, van Ingen used a Harpur College Undergraduate Award for Research and Creative Work to meld his two passions. With four other runners from universities across the country, he moved to Maine to train. They lived in spartan conditions, sleeping in basements and living in the woods, and van Ingen documented their experience. In The Real Maine, he shows there's no secret to success. It's just time, talent and dedication.
"What we are doing at a higher level is the same as what any other runner does," he says. "As a younger athlete, I always thought there was this magical rift between a 15-year-old with aspirations and a 23-year-old athlete who's out there running world-class times. But through that transition in age, I came to realize it's really the same stuff. The people who are good at it are passionate and do it a lot."
A Man of Many Passions
Santino DeAngelo '12 is passionate about many things. He loves the Binghamton area in which he grew up. He loves Binghamton University, where he's a dual major in classics and theater. He loves acting, writing, music and art. But most of all, he loves unifying his passions.
This summer, as a Harpur fellow, DeAngelo set out to improve his hometown, whose youth have become too familiar with violence and not familiar enough with art and theater, by putting on a play to teach how to break cycles of violence.
Working with Binghamton University Spanish majors, DeAngelo helped translate Federico García Lorca's 1933 Blood Wedding and created an entirely new production that had local highschool students helping with rehearsals. One cast member worked with Upward Bound students to prepare them before they saw the matinees. (There were also regular shows for the general public.)
He asked Katie Kane, senior assistant director in Binghamton University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions, to participate in conversations between the students and the cast. After each matinee, they explored how the play dealt with breaking life patterns and how that applied to their own lives.
"We had an incredible discussion," Santino says. "These are kids from 12 to 16, 17, and we had some remarks like, 'I noticed the foreshadowing at the end of Act I.' You have that in mind with the kids the whole time, but when it happens, it takes you by surprise."