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Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


People of UW: CANA President Eli Tsarovsky talks local government, student voices

Stories of students: Read about students making a difference on campus
Courtesy of Eli Tsarovsky

Editor’s note: People of UW is a human interest series produced by features editors. The series aims to highlight a student at the University of Wisconsin making an impact on the campus community. These Q&As are lightly edited for clarity and style.

What are you studying at UW?

Right now, I’m in the School of Public Affairs, getting a Master’s in Public Affairs, which is public policy, and I’m also doing a Master’s in Public Health at the School of Medicine and Public Health.


What draws you to those fields?

One is because I recognize that health is power. Your ability to live your best life. If you’re not healthy, if you don’t have access to being a healthy person, that has large effects on who you are as a person and your ability to thrive as a person in this world. And I also know that policy dictates that a lot. So thinking about access to health care, thinking about the environment that you live in, thinking about your access to healthy foods, and that’s why I really like my studies.

I’m trying to really focus on the concept of health and all policies, recognizing that all policies affect your health in one way or another, whether that be education, whether that be transportation, whether that be healthcare. So that’s something that I’m very passionate about and excited about in my studies.

What do you do for the Campus Area Neighborhood Association?

As the President of CANA, I’ve been lucky to be part of a team of people that I’m really invested in and really excited about, engaging students, engaging local community members in what is going on in Madison — specifically around the topics of housing, voting and general civic engagement. We’re really trying to build community and get people aware of how they can impact their community and how they have a lot of power as someone who is living in the community — especially in Madison, where neighborhood associations and local government can be influenced just by people showing up.

How many volunteers work with CANA?

It really depends on the project, sometimes it can get up to 30 people volunteering to work on a project. But I would say we have a dedicated core of eight people. There’s also so many people outside CANA who we couldn’t do this without.

What is the importance of what CANA does for the UW community?

We provide a bridge to local government, in a way. We work really closely with all the alders in the downtown area that represent District 8, District 4 and District 2, to figure out what is happening in local government. I think what’s difficult is that if students don’t show up, there’s a lot of people on City Council and in the community that think that students don’t care about Madison, and students don’t have a say in what’s going on in Madison. Challenging those beliefs takes organizing, and it takes a neighborhood association that should be there to at least hold some space for that to happen.

What is one thing you want students to know about CANA?

In one sentence, we try to make Madison seem a lot more accessible in terms of government and events.

What is one thing you want students to know about you?

I’m not afraid to rock the boat or stir things up when something needs to get done.

What else do you do for work?

I’m a Suicide Prevention Project Assistant at UHS. I guess a line through a lot of my work is trying to make the world a better place. And trying to make people feel cared for. I feel like one thing I do in a lot of my work is find links. Trying to spread the love, in a way, and showing people that there’s a lot of stuff out there that you will be accepted in, and people want you to be there. I try to bring that in all different realms of my work in a way through stuff I do at UHS, stuff I do at CANA, even stuff I do in school to try and be a good person.

Where can people expect to bump into you on campus?

I’d say you probably see me in Memorial Library. No doubt. I love the grad lounge there. I like going to the Union — cliche UW stuff. You probably see me walking around East Campus Mall because I walk through there for class, I walk through there for work, we do tabling there for CANA.

What can students come to you for?

If they saw me out and about and they want to know what has gone on in Madison, I can tell them what is going on in Madison. Volunteer opportunities, what’s the scoop in local government. Students can even come to me for my work at UHS, learning more about how to support others. I guess in a way they always come to me for a laugh. I’m a goofy person so I would have a stupid joke or something to say. I feel like I try my best to spread some sunshine. So come to me for news, a laugh or good vibes.

What’s next for you?

After the CANA elections are over, I will not be the president of CANA but I will be the president of Capitol Neighborhoods Inc., a conglomerate of neighborhood associations that covers Mansion Hill, Miffland, the Bassett District and James Madison.

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