The Rochesteriat; Working Hard to Bring the City Together.

The Rochesteriat; Working Hard to Bring the City Together.

You first met Che in Rochester works for actor Che Holloway, an impromptu interview and amble through the Neighborhood of the Arts.

An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!

Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 50 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.

For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews

The Rochesteriat; Working Hard to Bring the City Together.


Stefanie and Jason Schwingle. [All photos courtesy of Jason and Stefanie Schwingle]

In this highlight we turn our attention to the masterminds behind The Rochesteriat, an online guide for the city of Rochester. I know Jason and Stefanie Schwingle personally. Not only are they very kind people, this couple is dedicated to the growth of the city and are very open minded and open to collaboration.

I asked Jason and Stefanie a series of questions. Here is what we discussed.

Tell us a little about yourself, where did you grow up? High school attended? Etc.

J: By the time I reached high school age, my parents (like so many others) had decided that the City school district was not where they wanted us to be, and therefore I graduated from Gates Chili High School.

S: I have a similar background as Jason, attended #7 school in the Maplewood neighborhood and have great memories of walking to the library at the end of our street and walking to school. We moved to the Spencerport school district when I was in 2nd grade and remained there. I graduated from the Spencerport High School.

I loved sports, played soccer, ran track, and eventually picked up tennis. I also played piano growing up. I received my first camera (a Kodak of course) when I was in high school and it began a love of photography for me.

What is The Rochesteriat?

J: The Rochesteriat is an online city guide to everything in the CITY of Rochester….not the burbs, not Rochester’s beautiful surrounding farm country — only the city. We emphasize this because every other publication, media source, and outlet deals with the entire Rochester region. Because our resources were few when we started, we wanted to have a laser focus on something that was important to us (me and Stefanie).

S: We feel like our city is an incredible place to live and enjoy life. There’s a ton to do; it’s growing and changing and we hope people can see it the way we do, not the way it was in the past.Rochwstariat

How does The Rochesteriat stand out from similar platforms?

As mentioned above, we focus only on the city, not much else. Now, on occasion, you may see some stuff from the best airline on there (Jetblue of course!), but that’s because I (Jason) have been an Inflight Crewmember for them for 13 years and I wholeheartedly support the companies that I work for.

Secondly, we’re not political. Everyone has an opinion, even us. But we wanted to simply share who, what, when, and where things were happening in the city. We’ll keep the opinion stuff up to other media outlets, and we keep it positive about the future of our city.

clean sweep

Washington Square Park

Third, we’re homeowners (and taxpayers!) of the city, we’re business owners, and we head up our Community Association in the Washington Square Park. In an ironic twist from running a blog-based business, both Stefanie and I are BIG believers in a lot less talking, and a lot more doing. You got an opinion? We don’t care, just show us that you’re willing to put in some elbow-grease in making changes to this city, and that’s what makes changes in this world.

In what direction do you see The Rochesteriat going in the next 10 years?

J: Stefanie and I built the Rochesteriat for the long-haul. While we have to continually change to the landscape of the business operating environment, one thing is for sure – we will be as involved in Rochester as we are today.

How can people from the community get involved with The Rochesteriat?

J: Contact us: email, phone call, Facebook, direct message…it all works for us. We’re working on building a city that is thriving and prosperous….I mean, why else would you want to live in a city that is anything but?

S: We also hope people go to events in the city, support the mom and pop shops we talk about, get involved in the city in some way – it’s the little things that will improve our city and help businesses thrive. It’s all for the greater good of Rochester.swengles

Do you have any other hobbies?

J: Traveling. I do a lot of domestic travel for Jetblue, but Stefanie and I started international traveling a couple of years ago and we’re hooked! We’re LOVING exploring the world and cannot wait to see more of it. Getting out of our own city, state, and country helps us to put our lives into perspective – and keeps us grateful for the lives we have.

S: Yes, we love to travel. We love spending time with our family and friends. And as Jason mentioned, we love being involved in the community. It’s been excited to be a part of the formalization process of the Washington Square Park Community Association and we’re looking forward to being a part of the positive change where we live.

Talk about a time where you have faced adversity and triumphed.

Last year Stefanie went through a pretty big health scare. Prayers, support for our amazing family, friends and church, and staying positive is the only way we can get through the tough times.

What advice can you give to aspiring individuals interested in the same field?

J: Get out and do. Stop talking and dreaming, go do. Sure, mistakes will be made, but those are only a part of the learning process to success. No one is perfect (except my wife – I have to say that). Let me repeat – NO ONE IS PERFECT. Keep an open, positive mindset, and go do.

S: Rochester is a great place to start a business or pursue a passion. It’s a very accepting community and there are A LOT of resources available for entrepreneurs.


Movie night in MLK Jr. Memorial Park.

Are there any annual community events in partnership with The Rochesteriat?feaured rochesatriat new

YES! Movies with a Downtown View in MLK Jr. Memorial Park. An evening summertime outdoor movie that happens once in July and once in August under the stars. It’s a great event, FREE and open to the public. Come out and bring a blanket, a picnic, and enjoy. Contact us if you want to get involved somehow. Stay tuned for the dates.

How can we get a hold of you? Social media links?

Nope we don’t believe in them. Haha, just kidding:





About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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