Gatepost Interview: Matty Bennet, SGA vice president, candidate for SGA president

Donald Halsing / THE GATEPOST

What made you want to get involved in student government?

I had been very interested in student government since I was a freshman, but I chose to work more, as a lot of students do on campus. But my junior year, I was able to save up enough money so that I didn’t have to work as much. So, I did a write-in campaign because I missed the cut-off to get my name in, because I didn’t realize elections were happening and I got written in as a senator. I had friends who encouraged me to join. From there, I fell in love with it. I liked the governance of it. I liked getting to know administrators, faculty, staff, and students through it. I kind of just stuck with it from there. From there, I grew and blossomed into my role now, and I really like it. It’s a great way to get involved on campus if you’re not sure what you want to do because you get to do a little bit of everything.

What made you want to attend FSU?

I wanted to attend FSU because I liked that it was close to home. I have a lot of family in the area. When I was looking at schools, there was something about Framingham State, and they had a commitment to diversity and inclusion that I really liked that I didn’t see at other schools. I like the mixture of old buildings and new. I like the size, and going here for the past three years proves that it is a close-knit school. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people really well, and not just students. I can walk down the street past May Hall, and I can see someone and say, “Hi.” I’ve never not been able to just say, “Hi,” to someone on any given day.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment during your time in SGA?

My greatest accomplishment, I would have to say, would be the Presidents’ Council that I had last week. Prior Presidents’ Councils had been kind of poorly attended, and they hadn’t been held in the best regard. So, I went in really optimistic, hoping we would be able to get something out of it. I was so incredibly pleased with the 10 amazing club leaders that came – a lot of them had great ideas. And what I realized is that SGA is in this unique role to connect these clubs. A lot of these clubs know each other and try to work together, but there isn’t an avenue where they can collaborate if they don’t know each other. So, I think my greatest accomplishment was bringing them all together and realizing, from the clubs that did come, that there is so much beauty and talent and amazing ideas that are happening at these clubs and that they, through SGA, can get to know each other better and learn more from each other. We have made the decision to hold Presidents’ Council once a month next year to give clubs an opportunity to do monthly check-ins.

What goals do you have for next year in SGA?

Next year, I want to help promote clubs. That is my biggest initiative. I want to make sure that all clubs are having the events that they want to do. I want to make sure that they are well supported. We’ve had a lot of issues with funding this year, so I really want to help promote fundraising and help clubs with that. So, we want to make sure clubs are able to have their events. And it’s not just events – it’s getting people to their events. We hope that through collaborating through clubs and having clubs support each other, we will be able to have greater participation on campus. I know that for SGA, we have a line up in our budget for collaborating events with clubs, and we didn’t even touch it this year. I want to be able to do that next year. I want to be able to co-sponsor events with all these great clubs on campus. We all have a lot of talent and resources, and it’s a shame if we don’t all work together.

Why do you want to be SGA president?

I think it’s the natural progression. I think that I have demonstrated that I have a lot of great leadership qualities. I have been extremely committed to SGA, especially in my role as vice president and supporting Ben [Carrington, SGA president]. I’ve gotten to know the job. I know the ins and outs and how you can really make a change on campus. As the president of SGA, you have a voice that not everyone does, and I want to be able to use that voice to advocate on the behalf of students. I have been doing that on the … search committee for the diversity, inclusion, and community engagement [vice president], and I have enjoyed my ability to be in the discussion. I feel that I would be able to continue that as president.

What is your favorite part about being on SGA?

I would have to say the friendships that I have made. SGA is a really close-knit group of people. It’s not cliquey. After Constitution Committee [meetings], everyone goes down and gets dinner together. We really bonded at our retreat, so we have gotten to know each other really well. I would say that we are professional when we need to be, and we are friends when we need to be.

What advice do you have for your FSU peers?

Get involved. Framingham is an amazing campus that has so many opportunities to grow your skills and develop as a person. There are 32 clubs and organizations. There are countless centers and institutes on campus. There is the most passionate faculty, staff, and administration that you will find out of any university, and you only have access to that for these four years. So, my best advice to my fellow FSU peers is to get involved, find something that you love, and run with it, because that is what I did. I wasn’t involved my first two years, and I didn’t get as much out of the campus as I could have. Now that I am involved, I don’t regret a thing.