Frank Segro '12

Service with a smile
“If every haystack has its needles, then GMC’s really just a stack of needles,” says Senior Frank Segro, drawing a hearty laugh. During his visit to the college—a relatively short drive from his hometown in Wurtstboro N.Y.—Frank found that GMC’s eclectic blend of characters was the sort of campus culture he was looking for. Frank, as it would turn out, would end up fitting right in—as he’s quite the character himself.

“I knew this place was right for me because I had just had my wisdom teeth pulled the day before my visit and was on a steady diet of mashed potatoes and Vicodin. I figured if I could have fun under those circumstances then I was in good shape,” he says with a dry delivery. Over the years, Frank’s reliable sense of humor has not only become one of his defining features, but has also served as the catalyst of many a dinner table discussions.

Aside from its lovable “quirkiness,” Frank also cited the small size and engaging faculty as reasons for coming to a small liberal arts like GMC rather than a large institution like Cornell—a college Frank turned down so that he could attend here. GMC also seemed tailor-made for Frank’s academic interests which fell somewhere in between communications and environmental law. All joking side, Frank was serious about making significant changes in the way of sustainability in his immediate community and beyond.

“I asked myself what field I felt like I could make the most change in. Policy stuck out to me for obvious reasons, but I remember that in my Voices of Community class we started talking about this concept of ‘culture jamming’ which inspired me to focus my major on media advocacy and campaigns—just trying to get a message out effectively.”

Some of Frank’s communication projects have given him a chance to explore new avenues for crafting an effective message in unique ways.

“I found that making silly short films for class was a good way to do this, as long as they still had a message. For me, humor is a way to lighten people up to a serious message or disarm them a little so that your message resonates,” he says.

Frank’s hard work eventually landed him an internship with a large environmental cooperative called the Gerry Foundation. Frank explained that the company tries to promote natural beauty in upstate New York as a source of economic revenue. His job largely centered on researching what industrial processes like hydraulic fracturing would have on the area. This, in turn, helped the Gerry Foundation discern what actions they could take to protect some the area’s natural resources.

On campus, Frank was trying his hand at new things whenever he had the chance. He tried to take elective courses that gave him a balanced skill set, such as the one-credit cheese making intensive he’s taking this semester. He has also dabbled in the college’s music and theatre department as well. Most prominently perhaps, Frank became interested in promoting physical well-being. He joined the college’s ultimate frisbee team and, at the start of this year, became co-captain of the Flying Squirrels.

Last month, Frank helped organize the campus’s home tournament which boasted several green initiatives. Local food was served outdoors and GMC’s solar roller trailer produced more than enough energy needed to blast music throughout the playing fields. The team went undefeated during the tournament and—on top of that—had a lot of fun, Frank adds.

In addition to that, Frank also helped organize Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lessons which are held in the Bogue movement studio on Monday nights and are facilitated by himself and outside volunteers who have extensive training in this form of martial arts. Frank says that everyone is welcome and cites it as another great way to increase physical health through flexibility and self-defense techniques.

Frank has also found the time to serve as the student senate’s IT representative, recently helping the college in their efforts to expand their internet speed and overall network efficiency.

Reflecting on the full plate he has, Frank still manages to smile about the whole thing and take it in stride.

“You know, a lot of the most important lessons I’ve learned in college have been about myself and other people. I’ve learned a lot about what I want. I really want to try and make positive changes and hopefully make people smile while doing it.”

By Chad Skiles '12

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