University News

Pivotal on-campus experiences helped shape Davin Stavroplos

April 17, 2023

Written by Dave Fidlin | Photos by Craig Schreiner

Portrait photo of Davin Stavroplos.

When he first entered the grounds of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater as a freshman, Davin Stavroplos knew he wanted to give back and make a difference.

Throughout the course of working toward his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, Stavroplos’ personal and professional pursuits were sharpened and refined through a series of pivotal experiences.

He will share his inspiring story as student speaker for UW-Whitewater’s spring 2023 commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 13.

Stavroplos, who will be the first member of his immediate family to get a degree in higher education, made a mark on the UW-Whitewater campus in a number of ways since he first enrolled in the fall of 2018.

Reflecting on his earliest days on campus, Stavroplos readily admits he initially struggled to acclimate himself to his new surroundings and was contemplating a transition to another university for his sophomore year.

But he stuck it out during his freshman year and took a few steps out of his comfort zone, thinking he would make the most of whatever limited time he had on the UW-Whitewater campus.

“If you leave your dorm room and make an effort to put yourself out there, you will put down roots real fast,” Stavroplos said. “I got to meet some really great people. Immediately, my fondness for the institution grew. I started taking it seriously and getting a better sense of the different folks who were coming here.”

Over a span of four of his five years at the university, Stavroplos served in Whitewater Student Government, culminating in a leadership role as student body president of the organization for the 2021-22 school year. He credits WSG with seeing UW-Whitewater — and his professional pursuits — through a different lens.

One of the key initiatives Stavroplos took up in his time in WSG pertained to policies around the student fee — an assessment that helps fund such amenities as the Young Auditorium, Ambrose Health Center, weight room, recreation areas and other sites on campus that enrich student experiences.

As a group, Stavroplos said he and others within WSG opted to support raising the base student fee in lieu of the out-of-pocket fees that had been assessed for some of the services and activities.

“We made it so nobody would not be able to use any service or recreation here on campus,” Stavroplos said.


Davin Stavroplos participates with other people outside, standing in a circle, celebrating and clapping.

Whitewater Student Government President Davin Stavroplos, clapping, celebrates with other students and UW System President Tommy Thompson, back to camera, at a ceremony celebrating the university’s success at vaccinating the student population against Covid-19, known as the "70 for 70 campaign" on Oct. 27, 2021.


Student government also gave Stavroplos access to conversations and settings on campus that few other students have the opportunity to witness. His voice was pivotal during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic as students, faculty and staff worked together to safely and successfully return to in-person classes and activities. He served on the search and screen committee this past fall that ultimately resulted in the hiring of Corey A. King as UW-Whitewater’s next leader.

This fall, Stavroplos said he plans to return to UW-Whitewater to work toward a master’s degree in the higher education leadership program.

Inspired by the impact that institutions such as UW-Whitewater make on countless students, from all walks of life, Stavroplos said he would like to give back further after receiving so much throughout his undergraduate experience.

“I think of UW-Whitewater as a place that can really, really improve someone’s quality of life after getting a degree,” Stavroplos said. “There are a lot of R-1 research institutions out there, but this is the kind of university that can really make a big difference in people’s lives. It certainly made a big difference in mine.”

While the journey has not always been easy — particularly in the midst of juggling student government and other organization involvement with his core studies — Stavroplos said he is grateful to the faculty who pressed him to persevere.

“This place gave me a really awesome opportunity, because I wasn’t always the best student in high school. Stavroplos said. “I feel obligated to pay it back.”