Gatepost Interview: Jack Capello, Student Government Association Vice President

(Photo by Cesareo Contreras)

Where did you grow up and why did you decide to attend FSU?

I grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts. That’s around 20 to 25 minutes away. What led me to FSU is that my sister went here. When I applied, she was a junior, and then when I was a freshman, she was a senior here. After high school, I took a gap year just to seek out personal goals – volunteer opportunities and just experience traveling and stuff like that. So, when I graduated high school, college wasn’t the first thought on my mind. I knew I wanted to go back for an education, but I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. That’s why the gap year was kind of the time to do that. My mother has traumatic brain injury, so she has to be – not monitored or anything – but just checked in on all the time. So, I really needed somewhere that was local and just cheap, since I’m obviously going to be paying for most of the upfront costs other than what FAFSA pays for. … I was just looking for a place that I could go home if I had to, [and] I would have on-campus support. … Framingham State showed me there was a support system here.    

What are the responsibilities of the SGA Vice President?

I mainly work with constitutions of clubs. I’m the liaison between SGA and clubs and organizations. That basically means that I’m here to make sure that all clubs are running smoothly, that everything is being operated as what their constitution reflects and that they are being given all the resources that they need. I put on President’s Council, which meets four times a semester. Usually, they only meet twice, but I was trying to be a little ambitious with it. And that’s just where we can have time to sit together and talk about what we can do to continue to build a community on campus. And so, as the SGA vice president, my job is to create a forum where people can come together and start to build a platform for clubs to really get a good foot off on campus.

What’s your favorite part about being on SGA?

I think being where I am now, my favorite thing about SGA is seeing how people can have fun within a formal situation. You really see that in our meetings. You can’t speak to each other and you can’t talk out of turn. But somehow, people still find that fun and still find ways to make it fun. I think that just shows human nature. … I just love, from my perspective right now, watching someone who has been on SGA since the beginning of the semester, since the beginning of the year, just grow as a student leader and really see them break out of their shell. At the beginning, you’re always like, ‘Why are you on SGA? Why are you here? You don’t seem like you’re very passionate.’ … But then, seeing them get comfortable with everything and being able to speak out for themselves and on behalf of other students, it’s really worthwhile to see that transformation happening in front of your own eyes.    

Can you talk about your involvement with the Craft Club?

Oh, yes! It makes me happy. Out of all the things I’m a part of on this campus, it’s my favorite one. So, I’m the president of Craft Club. And that was because when my sister was here, … she was the president of Craft Club. … I found it to be very fun and I enjoyed it. There were some crazy people on Craft Club my freshman year, and there continues to be some really great characters. … My heart just goes out to them, because they’ve shaped me in so many ways. … When we got to last year, a whole new eBoard was needed, since everyone was graduating.  I believe I was treasurer at the time. So, I was like, ‘You know what, I know what a club president needs to do. I know the resources the club needs to go through, because I’ve been on SGA for so long, so I would probably be the ideal president of the club.’ … I love to craft because it’s a stress reliever for me. It just reminds me of home and my sister. It’s very comforting. … It really ties in with my vice president role because I’m like, ‘OK, I have all these problems as a club president. I’m going to try and fix them for you, because I understand firsthand.’ I think that’s an experience other vice presidents of SGA didn’t have.

What are your plans after graduation?

My major is geography with a concentration in urban regional planning. And so, I like to plan things. … Over the summer, I took an internship with the town of Lincoln in their conservation department, and I was outside 24/7 doing conservational efforts. And I learned that I loved it, but I didn’t love the manual labor of it. I work with my hands, but I realized that wasn’t allowing me to advocate on behalf of people because I was just a bottom-line worker, which as an intern, you are. … I see myself moving on to an internship at a planning department of a city. I’ve been looking at several planning departments across Massachusetts, like the Boston Planning agency. … I want to make sure that people who are not overly welcomed and who don’t feel like they are overtly part of a community – I want them to feel a part of something, because there was a time in my life when I didn’t feel like I was a part of a community. … I want to be the person that welcomes them into something.

What advice do you have for your peers?

Never be afraid to question anything. And never be afraid to speak out, because there is always an answer to everything. To relate it back to Framingham State University, I hear a lot of people complain and moan, and they don’t really do anything about it. They don’t know there are such simple solutions to their problems. I just want them to go to someone and tell them that. I want them to know they have resources on campus and how to use them. … Don’t be afraid to be that person. Make sure that you are being heard and always include people. … You might be that person who helped someone, and it could change their entire life.