Gatepost Interview: Gina Pacitto- Program Coordinator for SILD


Courtesy of LinkedIn

By Naidelly Coelho

Staff Writer


What is your educational and professional background?


I graduated from Nichols College in 2018 and I was a business communications major and psychology minor. After that, I worked for a technology startup - it was more like a training position where I taught people how to use technology. I did that for about two years until COVID-19 hit. Then I worked for a brewery as a brand ambassador and did marketing for them. About a year ago, I started my position at Framingham State University and started working for the Student Involvement department.


What motivated you to follow this career?


I was very involved while I was an undergrad in college. I had three jobs on campus and I was involved in six clubs. I was the president of one club, I was the vice president of another club, and then I was an active member of four other ones. I just loved it. I love being a social butterfly on campus. I loved seeing and knowing everybody - it was just like a very happy social environment. … So I pursued that, even after I graduated. But the doors didn't open at first, but that's something that when you are passionate about something, you keep trying. And after three years, I graduated and I finally found a position at Framingham State, where I wanted to work in Student Involvement on a college campus. So I had my eye on the prize. I knew what I wanted. Even though I had different positions from what I wanted, I used the skills that I learned from them to prepare me to work on a college campus.


What’s the Student Involvement and Leadership Development about?


Our department is all about helping the student organizations on campus, so we are the main resource to help their ideas come to life. When any club comes to us and says, “Hey, we want to have a movie night. How do we get that going?” So what we do is we have the experience of reaching out to the vendors. We help them with the financials behind it, and we kind of get the big picture rolling. So any club that wants to do something, we're there for them. We also [play] a huge part in getting students involved, and making sure the students know what resources they have on campus. So right now, we're actually expanding our department, and we actually work closely with the career center, and the orientation department as well. … We don’t have a name for it yet, but it’s exciting. It's all about the student experience. So that’s what we do. We're here for the students and to make their experience better in general.


How do you think students benefit from your work?


I think this department and my work help the students connect with one another. It helps students feel more excited to be a college student and to be at Framingham State. It shows what we have to offer and I really believe it helps build connections with students and the faculty members and just everyone involved in all the little factors that get things going on campus. It’s really awesome to see when you have a student join a club, and then four years later, they're best friends with the person that they met at that club. And to me, that's what it's all about. When you're a first-year student, it can be overwhelming sometimes, but you know, just take that step to get involved and try something new. You never know who you're going to meet. You just got to try new things.


What do you enjoy most about your job?


I love working with the students and planning events. I think this job is fun, and it's always an adventure. There's always a lot of moving parts, but it's so rewarding because you get to see so many different events come to life. When we start from scratch and we build huge events, like Sandbox, which is our end-of-the-year carnival that has 10 different vendors, we had two different food trucks, we had an ice cream truck, we had rock climbing, and all these kinds of things. So it's really fun to work with the clubs and organizations and watch their whole ideas really become a reality. It's awesome.


Do you have any advice for students?


My biggest advice is put yourself out there and get to know people. Don't be afraid to meet new people and talk to new people. Try new things. Try new clubs. Just get involved - whether you're starting a new job on campus, or you're joining a club, or just anything that gets you involved on campus. It can be so beneficial and help you feel more connected to FSU. And once you realize what kind of community there is, you see that people are there to help you. We're really all in this together. So knowing that we all have each other's backs and it's a supportive community - that's the biggest thing that I've learned from Framingham State and I want the students to learn that as well.


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