A university student is aiming to bridge the gap between campus and community by running for public office to address concerns and openly communicate with city officials.
Sam Scarpaci, a sophomore political science major and president of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s chapter of the College Democrats, is currently going through the process of running for District Two city council.
This district consists of 70 percent students. Two other individuals are running for the position.
“It has been over 30 years since a student has been on city council,” Scarpaci said. “There is obviously a large portion of students in the city. Students need to be represented and I know I can be that voice.”
Scarpaci is currently going through paperwork to get his name on the ballot. He needed 20 signatures in support of his running and obtained 37. While rallying support, he started talking to students to find what issues they are concerned about.
He has been attending city council meetings to learn how they are run and formulate ideas for change.
“I always had an inkling to do politics, but was just too chicken,” Scarpaci said. “Now I feel as if I have enough knowledge to be a voice for students. I didn’t see anybody else going for it, so I did.”
Among the issues he hopes to address is the lack of plowing, flooding in the streets near campus, reopening the Fox on Main, expansion of bus routes and inadequate off-campus housing.
“These are issues a city council person could fix,” Scarpaci said.
Scarpaci said he knows he can take on the workload because he balances student work with a job and has a long history of multitasking.
Scarpaci grew up in Marshfield and said he knows the area well, enabling him to effectively engage with the community.
“I want to expand job opportunities in the city so more students seek to live out their professional lives here,” Scarpaci said.
Many students support Scarpaci’s endeavors.
“He’s a good guy and I think he’s got a lot of our generation’s interests to bring up,” said Alison Campy, a freshman member of the College Democrats.
Scarpaci’s dream is to become governor of Wisconsin.
“I would possibly like to stay in this area after graduation, but will definitely stay for the two years of my term,” Scarpaci said. “Above all else, I want to help the city.”
The election will be held April 7 following a primary in February.