Telvi's Goal: Give Back

News Story:

Matt Telvi wants to run for public office one day, but isn’t sure how big he wants that office to be.

“Possibly something in my town,” he says.

For now, though, the Wallkill, New York, resident is happy with the size of his current office: that of president of Sacred Heart University’s student body.

Telvi, 20, has been involved with Student Government since his freshman year, when he served as secretary. The following fall he was elected president of the Class of 2009, followed a year later by the first of what he hopes will be two terms in his current position.

The junior political science major says it’s all great training for whatever business or political roles he fills after graduation. “Student Government gives me good insight on the way things work,” Telvi says, “the steps that things need to be taken for things to get accomplished, the routes that you need to take to get things done.”

One recent accomplishment of Telvi’s administration was pushing through a $30,000 Student Government contribution to the new Sacred Heart chapel.

“I felt that this is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity, that I’ll be here when a chapel is built,” Telvi says. “Student Government doesn’t exist just to serve the students—you have to give back as well. We’re students for only four years, but 20 years down the line we’ll still be known as Sacred Heart University alumni, so to give back to the school is something special, and I find it to be a privilege.”

SHU broke ground for the $17 million chapel in December 2006, with an expected opening date of September 2008. The principal sanctuary will seat 500, with a smaller chapel for daily Mass and private prayer. Student Government’s donation is covering the cost of a baby grand piano to be used in services, along with two pews.

“It’s huge for a private Catholic university to have a structure where you can go to practice your faith,” Telvi says. ”Having a chapel on campus makes it a lot more attractive to incoming students, as well—high-school juniors and seniors will know that they’re looking at a private Catholic school that offers a strong religious commitment as well as so many other things.”

In addition to Student Government, Telvi participates in several of those “other things” as well. He’s a member of College Republicans, acts with SHU Players, and works with the university’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. Telvi also sings with SHU’s chamber choir 4 Heart Harmony, and joined them in January when they traveled to Florida to perform at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Primarily, however, Telvi is the leader of students at Sacred Heart. Though he admits the job is filled with as many challenges as joys, he enjoys being president. “Among the rewards are when you put on a good program and see the outcome, to see all the students there, to see them happy, to see them like whatever you gave them,” he says. “I’m hoping that I’m lucky enough to get re-voted in for my senior year.”