Striving for Better

Matteo Ramos-Mucci


Every year, the Department of State gives out 50,000 visas to people around the world and, on average, 9.1 million qualified applicants submit their names. That means that my dad had a 0.5 percent chance to win permanent residency for our family. I was born in Venezuela and lived there until the summer of 1998, when our departure to the U.S. matched with the rise of President Hugo Chavez. I am a triplet, and when my brother, sister and I first started to go to school in the U.S., we were picked on for our accents and weird customs.

It wasn’t long until the school got used to us and things settled down, but there were always those few out there who never got used to our differences and continued with the name-calling and insults.

They tried to make us look bad by tricking us into doing things or saying things we thought meant something else or didn’t understand, but eventually we caught on that there are people you just can’t trust.

My siblings and I eventually lost our accents, but there was still something differ­ent about the way we said and did things. No one could really tell from meeting us that at home our parents didn’t speak English, but rather Italian and Spanish. They also couldn’t tell that we ate arepas for breakfast, or that we didn’t like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because our parents fed us Nutella instead.

We made our way through middle and high school pretty smoothly, blending in and making friends with people we found to be open-minded and honest. Suddenly I went to Colgate, and my brother and sister went to different colleges. Here I was alone, in culture shock and slightly confused about how to fit in.

I knew this happened to everyone, so I just sought out my niches and tried to flourish in them. I became an ALANA ambassador my freshman year, meeting people that I can honestly say should have been nominated for the Nobel Prize for niceness.

They became my heroes. Shev Martin’s quick wit and management skills inspired me to become a student leader. I quickly recognized that ALANA was a tool for good and that by being a part of it, I could try to maximize its potential. After two years at Colgate, I realized that there was more I could do. I became a COVE intern, a Donovan’s Pub intern, an SGA senator and the president of Delta Upsilon fraternity. I was so happy; finally, I could make things better, and I was also able to include my opinion and charm my way into conversations I maybe shouldn’t have been in.

At the COVE, I worked for greater collaboration among groups, thinking that, at the end of the day, everyone is competing for funds, so why not work together?

I am currently trying to get Donovan’s Pub up and running as a functioning dining option for students. At SGA, I was selected to be part of the Alcohol and Drug Advisory Committee that helps keep students safe.

Finally, at DU, we have opened our doors to more people than ever before. I personally know all the presidents of Greek Life. In fact, two of them lived in my townhouse sopho­more year and another former president was my suitemate freshman year. I can truthfully and honestly say that we all want to make Greek Life better.

We all aim for excellence in the classroom and outside of it. We do so many good things that go unnoticed. Today I feel that I am trying to fix something that others are trying to tear down.

We have the potential to benefit so many people on campus, but we’re being held back. Being Greek is something that I love and, unlike my accent, I won’t let a few people tear it away from me.

I’m one of many people that critics of Greek Life don’t want you to know exists. I am part of an ever-growing number of individuals that are changing the way Greek Life at Colgate works. If you want to fix Greek Life, be a part of it. Register for rush and join the movement to make Greek Life better for us all.

Contact Matteo Ramos-Mucci at [email protected]