HOMETOWN: Herkimer, N.Y.
Is there anything better than serving on your school’s student government?
For Michael Staltieri ’19, the answer is a resounding no.
“Student government has always been a passion of mine,” Michael says. “I put my heart and soul into it in high school and definitely wanted to continue at Union.”
He wasted no time getting started. Barely a month after matriculating, he ran for president of his first-year class.
“For a week during elections that fall, I went knocking on doors to get signatures from other students,” he recalls. “I introduced myself, saying why I was running, citing my experience and telling them I’m in it for the long run.”
Having won that election and several since, he has been an active and animated member of Union’s Student Forum, working to represent student interests to the larger campus community and the administration.
“I love it,” he says of the forum’s weekly meetings and conversations. “We’re a voice for students.”
Composed of student officers from each class year and representatives of various parts of campus life, the Student Forum oversees the operations of more than 100 student clubs and organizations.
“Being a part of it has not only rounded out my college experience, but in many ways, it has defined it,” says Michael, who serves as vice president of the Class of 2019.
“I feel very lucky to have this position. I love to help others. Students know they can bring ideas to me. I have interactions with so many departments and offices, such as Student Activities, Alumni Relations, Communications, the President’s Office. It’s important to build relationships to make initiatives happen.”
With an interest in transportation initiatives, Michael has spread the word about Union’s “swipe and ride” alliance with the Capital District Transportation Authority, which provides free bus rides to students with a Union ID. He also helped shape the College’s “tremendously successful” partnership with Zipcar, the popular car sharing network, to offer students, faculty and staff round-the-clock access to cars.
In addition to his student government activities, Michael is president of the campus Historical Tour Guides, a resident adviser and a member of the Dutch Pipers a capella group.
He is always mindful of addressing matters affecting student life. Currently, he is exploring best practices for student governance with other members of the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium. The group links Union with Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Skidmore College and St. Lawrence University.
“We’re reaching out to these peer schools to see how their student representatives handle controversial and other issues,” he says. “We’re constantly striving to make our campus a better place.”