Matt Marotti sits across from me in the Hancock building. He sports a neat tie and equally professional looking, clearly lint-brushed peacoat. He folds his hands as he leans forward.
“Ed and I, we have solutions. That’s the theme of the campaign. People come across the election every year and underestimate the responsibilities of the positions [Student Body President and Executive Vice President]. I have a list and it’s going to be hard, but that’s why we have developed the ‘game changer’ concept.”
Marotti is a sophomore double major in economics and business administration major with a concentration in marketing, with a minor information systems. He is an honors student and the current Vice President of Club Affairs for Marist’s Student Government Association (SGA).
When asked to elaborate on comments made this past Sunday, Feb. 19, when he mentioned SGA as having “a really negative image” at the moment, he said that the current SGA administration puts forth the image of “a bunch of bureaucrats who hang out in the office”—especially in light of last semester’s activities.
“There’s a difference between theory and reality. The reality is right now, student government doesn’t have that good image. Particularly after the suspension. Under an ideal system, a good student government is supposed to be an exemplary organization for the student body.”
“SGA had an opportunity to stick it’s head out and say ‘hey, we are here for students,’ but the organization as a whole didn’t make a statement. How are students supposed to react to that?” he said, referring to the mixed, and sometimes highly emotional, reactions of students surrounding Marist’s decision to travel to Duke as well as the 2016 Election results. “This past year Marist has been highly involved [in political issues].”
He says that although going to Duke was “not a bad idea” and in fact “good for students who went and a good opportunity” except, upon return there was no further explanation or effort to impact the campus. “The whole point is to foster collaboration and continue the conversation. What was continued from that?”
He says that the major drawback of the suspension is the question, ‘how do we bounce back?’ With the reputation and continued acknowledgement of such a known setback on campus, the object of rebranding is afoot.
“I think if things were going better, students would look to student government as a release, or a push to address the administration. We saw the email after the suspension from Brandon which was a good email in and off itself but beyond that, how much do you see? How much did you see from student government? Not a lot.”
Marotti adds that through his observances he has taken the time to discuss issues on campus, oftentimes hearing the “same issues” ranging from dining hall quality, registration, laundry, parking, school spirit etc. He plans to break through the complexity of positive communication across campus, by first identifying these problems, then proposing solutions.
“It’s about priorities,” Marotti comments. “In order to be successful externally, we must be successful internally. Often you need the administration to help push things through.”
In response to President Yellen’s comment calling SGA essentially an ‘advisory board,’ during last fall’s town hall meeting when Marist’s President responded to an audience member’s question asking what role SGA has in the college’s decision making process, Marotti says, “[SGA] had it coming.”
“We are here to voice students’ concerns. This administration [and Yellen] in particular hasn’t seen that yet. Hopefully we can turn that around.” He stresses that the future of SGA as an organization depends on the guidance, advice and input from all members.
When asked why he decided to run for Student Body President, he sighs.
“Leadership is an obligation, it’s not fun. I couldn’t sit back and see someone do a bad job.” He even mentions that when a professor criticised him, asking ‘why get involved?’ “If everyone had that mentality, then the job wouldn’t get done. People need to step up.”↑ Back to top