- Political science junior Colton Marino was recently elected to the position of Interfraternity Council (IFC) President for the 2017-18 academic year. He is succeeding business administration junior Daniel Halprin. In this Q&A, Mustang News reporter Megan Schellong sat down with Marino to discuss the future of greek life on campus as well as some of Marino’s goals. Marino is the current president of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and previously served as an executive chair for his fraternity.
Full interview here: https://soundcloud.com/mustangnews/colton-marino-full-interview
Fifty Questions here: https://soundcloud.com/mustangnews/colton-marino-50-questions
Mustang News: What got you into greek life in the first place?
Colton Marino: Greek life is something I’ve always wanted to do. I had a tight-knit group of friends in high school and had a brotherhood amongst us, so I thought the next logical progression of that would be to join a fraternity at Cal Poly. So then after that, I fell in love with the guys at Kappa Sigma and it’s been great ever since.
MN: Can you paint us a picture of the rush process for those who aren’t involved in greek life?
CM: I checked out Kappa Sigma as well as a few other houses, went to their events throughout the week and just had a really good connection with Kappa Sigma. I felt like they were a group of guys I would see myself spending a lot of time with over the next four years here at Cal Poly, and just lifelong friends.
MN: What are some of Kappa Sigma’s values you resonated with?
CM: Kappa Sigma was founded on four pillars: fellowship, leadership, scholarship and service. To me at least, those four qualities were aspects I thought would make well-rounded individuals who would be contributing members to society and be successful, and I wanted to be a part of that group.
MN: Have you always seen yourself as a leader?
CM: I’ve always strived to push myself to that next level. Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to be involved in politics. I thought that getting involved with Kappa Sigma, as a chair last year, president this year and next year as the IFC president, I thought it was kind of a good way to test myself and push myself out of my own comfort zones and to refine those qualities I’ll need later on in life, whether that be as an attorney or in politics.
MN: What are you planning to do with your background in political science and involvement in greek life?
CM: I’ve been trying to find a way to blend my academic life and my extracurriculars and that’s why I’ve [sought] positions both within my fraternity and IFC. My future career goals are to, once I graduate from Cal Poly, go to law school, do well there hopefully and then either go into the navy as a JAG [Judge Advocate General’s Corps ] officer or get hired on by a firm and work in the legal side of things for awhile and then potentially go into politics.
MN: Is there someone you look up to who you strive to be like?
CM: Well, I think growing up, my family had a huge impact on the person I’ve become and the person I want to be in the future, but I’d say primarily my grandpa had a huge impact on me. He was in World War II, got a couple of medals there, the silver star being one of them. He instilled in me the drive to do more than stuff for yourself. He also was involved in politics later on in life, so he’s definitely someone I try to model myself after.
MN: Is there something you want to change in greek life?
CM: I think greek life at Cal Poly does a great job of excelling in all that they do. Last year, they raised [more than] half a million dollars for philanthropy [and] I believe over 35,000 hours of community service, which is pretty great. If I would change anything, I would just want … the greek life community to be strengthened and those not in greek life to feel that same sense of community. I feel like currently there’s kind of a disconnect and I want to help unify everyone.
MN: You talk about a disconnect, what do you mean by that?
CM: I think some of the houses in general with greek life aren’t as close as they would be. I think we could do more to unify as one greek community. In addition to that, I think a lot of the campus doesn’t see the good that we do as greek life members. In addition to that, I think a lot of times greek life and just students here at Cal Poly don’t share amongst themselves all the opportunities that they have and, at the end of the day, we’re all students here at Cal Poly. We’re all just trying to do good for ourselves and for our community.
MN: You mentioned that they don’t always share some of those opportunities, can you elaborate upon some of those opportunities?
CM: I think all of the general aspects to get involved with the community, both of the [San Luis Obispo] and campus community, general clubs and start-ups, just the general student climate.
MN: How are you planning to unify more members in greek life so that you can participate in each other’s [philanthropy] events?
CM: I think it starts with the leaders in each respective house on campus. One of my goals as the IFC president is to host more bonding activities between the IFC council as well as the respective presidents and vice presidents of each house. I think once we are one unified body, we extend ourselves to Panhellenic, United Sorority & Fraternity Council (USFC) and the rest of the student body.
MN: What is another one of your goals?
CM: One of my primary goals is to work with the public relations chair of each house to learn exactly how to write an effective press release. We do a lot of good as [the] greek community, whether that be [more than] half a million dollars in philanthropy or 35,000 community service hours. I think that when any fraternity or sorority on campus hosts an event like that, I think they should have a PR [public relations] release that goes to Mustang News, KSBY, [The] Tribune or to the community in general to publicize the work we do. Once others see the work we do, maybe that will help with the collaboration and community building.
MN: By the time you leave your position as the IFC president, what would you like to have said you contributed to greek life?
CM: I would like to work with IFC, Panhellenic and USFC to work on our public image to help everyone see that greek life isn’t this intimidating and scary thing and [instead] that everyone’s welcome in. I’d work on the public image and the sense of community within IFC, greek life, the campus and the community of San Luis Obispo.
MN: What do you see the public image of greek life as right now?
CM: I don’t think it’s a negative image, but I think a lot of times greek life is thought of as parties and social events and stuff like St. Fratty’s day, which historically fraternities haven’t been involved with, but we sometimes take the blame or credit for it. Things like that aren’t necessarily what we’re about, but instead focusing on the leadership, the service, the philanthropic opportunities and all the positive aspects of greek life.
MN: What is something you would tell someone looking to join greek life?
CM: I would tell them it’s definitely something they should look into. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made at Cal Poly. I would tell them to stay open to it and check out all the houses, just because one house doesn’t work out, you know, you have a negative experience with one of the fraternities or sororities on campus, to take a look at the other ones. They’re not all the same, but they all have similar goals, wishes and ambitions. They’re all here for the same thing, but sometimes take different routes.