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Michael Zitani: Pi Gamma Mu Prez with a Heart of Gold

Name: Michael Zitani

Age: 22

Year: Senior

Hometown: Sarasota, FL

Major: International Affairs (focus in Religion)/Political Science

Relationship Status: In a relationship


Her Campus (HC): So, how did you first become involved in Pi Gamma Mu?

Michael Zitani (MZ): Well I was initially recruited my junior year, I think in the fall. I started with just little things, such as volunteering for our garbage pickup and food pantry collections every semester. Once I became an officer in the fall, my involvement increased tremendously.

HC: What kinds of things are you responsible for as President of your Zeta chapter?

MZ: As President of my chapter, not many responsibilities are exclusively mine. We have always said in our organization that regardless of title, the treasurer handles the money, and all of the other officers work to get the wheels turning. So one week my responsibilities might entail meeting with administration and community leaders for future projects and service opportunities, the next it might be a last minute shopping run. Beyond that, my duties usually entail just double checking that everything is running smoothly, signing off on papers and forms, and trying to make sure we all stay in touch with each other regarding our projects. Although even then, those guys help me a lot. I am pretty terrible with social media. This organization is pretty much the only reason I go on or know how to use Facebook.

HC: What would you say has been your most rewarding moment working with Pi Gamma Mu?

MZ: I’m not sure to be honest. I know I am supposed to have some sort of intense, inspirational story there, but I really can’t think of something specific. Everything we do feels rewarding to me, because I know everything we do is helping out. We might not be the ones giving the food pantry collections to that student who has been living on ramen for two weeks, but when we bring in 50 to 60 cans of soup, peanut butter, and tuna to the collection room in the stadium, I know that person is going to finally have a chance to have a decent meal. Maybe we aren’t the ones giving kids a better environment to play and learn like our friends in the Ronald McDonald Charity House do, but when we help organize and prepare for their fundraisers, I know we are part of giving those kids a place to be kids. So I guess, everything is rewarding? Sorry if that’s long winded.

HC: What kinds of things do you like to do in your free time?

MZ: In my free time, I am not even a little ashamed to admit I can be pretty nerdy. Instead of going out to parties or clubs, my ideal night is composed of video games, maybe some reading if I haven’t wiped myself out from class readings, and watching my favorite shows on Netlifx or HBOGO (House of Cards is pretty awesome right now, although Archer always holds a special place in my heart). My absolute favorite thing to do would be to play D&D, but unfortunately I often don’t have the time, or can’t find a group to play with.

HC: What are your post-graduation plans?

MZ: After graduation, my plans are to get right back to it with law school. I am just finishing up applications, so I don’t know where I will be going yet, but my top three options now are UC Hastings, Fordham, and University of Washington. We will see what happens.

HC: What is your ultimate career goal you have set for yourself?

MZ: My ultimate career goal is a bit abstract. I don’t have a specific job in mind, or a specific place. The more I learn about getting a job, and other people’s success stories, it seems that whatever plans you make end up falling apart, and then something more beautiful and successful than you ever imagined comes out of the pieces. So if I had to pick, I would say working behind the scenes in the government to make people’s lives better. You know how politicians will always go on the air and announce this brand new policy that will change so many lives, create so many jobs, or something along those lines, and there are those people back stage clapping who did almost all the leg work, or who were one of the five brains that actually wrote most of that policy? I want to be one of those guys smiling in the back, knowing that while my name might not be in the press or even on the bill, I just did good work with real benefits for people. That’s my goal.

HC: What are three words your peers would use to describe you?

MZ: Well I certainly know what I wish they would say. Driven, caring, and knowledgeable! Or maybe imaginative, perseverant, and compassionate! What they actually say: probably three variations of strange. I’m pretty sure I can come off as a weird guy sometimes. I like to think that they might throw in one of those other qualities though in addition to the two words for strange. I just can’t say which one.

HC: Do you have any advice you’d like to impart on underclassmen pursuing similar major/career paths?

MZ: If I were giving advice, I would say to do two things. The first would be to go to every speaker on campus you can. Every speaker I have seen has been incredible, and every one I have missed I feel like an idiot for missing. The second one would be to get involved in an organization that helps out the community. Work on their projects, try to become and officer, and see what you are capable of. I always imagined myself as some kind of leader, but I only discovered my true potential once I started really doing leadership work, both through my honor society and in my volunteer work back home in Sarasota. People are capable of being so much more than they give themselves credit for. You want to be something? Then be it. Once you give it a shot, you’ll be amazed what happens. 

Lauren Valentine is a writer and editor for Her Campus FSU as well as a senior at Florida State University majoring in English: Editing, Writing, and Media and minoring in Film Studies and Art History. Her future goals are to work within the film industry, write for a television comedy series, and to be a published poet and illustrator. 
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