Matthew Macatuloo is not a hard man to spot. He can be seen around St. John’s University sporting flip flops and his Greek letters, longboarding as if he’s on the San Diego boardwalk that he grew up on.
Despite the recent election that put a whole new executive board in, Macatuloo is already anticipating the future. He wants to be the next president of Student Government Incorporated.
Race has been a problem on campus as of late, and this something that Macatuloo does not see changing soon.
“Everywhere you look it says, ‘we are the second most diverse school in the country,’ but when you go to the DAC coffeehouse you know where the Asian people sit and where the white people sit,” he said.
“There hasn’t been much advocacy for inclusion and conversation, even between commuters and residents, the commuters pretty much do their own thing,” he continued.
Neither of these concerns are unfounded. St. John’s has had to respond to racial incidents twice in this past semester with blast emails from President Bobby Gempesaw. Also, as a school with a population of over 70% commuters, by not taking care to make sure they get involved the school is essentially failing a majority of its population.
“I think it was a wake up call within the St. John’s community that we as a campus are not exempt from the everyday struggles or issues which still plague minorities on a daily basis in America just because we are a diverse and private university,” said Will Pugh, the now former vice-president of SGI. Pugh and his administration caught some heat from organizations like Student’s of Consciousness after the incidents and ensuing protests.
This is not Macatuloo’s first try at leadership on campus. He is currently the vice-president of the St. John’s Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, a position that he took on after his first semester as a member. He also represents the school as a Catholic Scholar, a scholarship based on service and faith.
“I can bring a determined, motivated individual who can bring a non-political mindset to the office. I have a great idea of what people want, and build great relationships with my peers,” said Macatuloo.
According to Pugh, this ability to network might help Macatuloo if and when he is elected.
“Communication is key in any relationship and can make or break to how successful things can be for both SGI and students,” said Pugh, “It is a relationship that can continue to become stronger just with genuine outreach overtime.”
Macatuloo has no plans to slow down. When people ask him why he wants to become even more involved, his answer is simple.
“I’m ready,” he will say with a grin.