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Martino and Floto: Meet the new Students’ Association president, vice president

September 19, 2016
Lance Floto and Viro Martino in Wilson CommonsStudents' Association vice president Lance Floto '17, left, and president Vito Martino '17. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Vito Martino ’17 and Lance Floto ’17 are the Students’ Association president and vice president, respectively, for the 2016-17 academic year. The two, who met the first day of freshmen year,  set the agenda for SA government and are responsible for the implementation of all legislation passed by the Senate.

Martino is a chemical engineering major from Poughkeepsie, about 90 miles north of New York City. He had never served in any elected office before becoming SA president. Floto is a Denver native majoring in computer science and financial economics. He served two years on the SA’s Appropriations Committee, working on a panel to appropriate $1.4 million to groups on campus.

What’s life like as the president and vice president?

SA president Vito Martino.

SA president Vito Martino.

Martino: For the most part, it’s a lot of emails and meetings,  sending dozens of emails a day and meeting three to four people per day, especially our advisors. It takes more time than most people would think. And we meet with students. Students can have lunch with us to talk about issues they have with the University or ways that SA can help them improve the campus. They just have to write to us. I like that. I want more face-to-face interactions.

Floto: A big part of our job is connecting people. Many members of the administration have approached us asking for people to sit on specific committees, and it’s our job to find the right people.

There are many important issues on campus this year, from mass renovations to a commitment to diversity and a new security commissions report. What are your thoughts on these?

Martino: I’m involved with all three. I either sit on a committee that oversees these projects or have one of my staff members sit on a committee and relay any information relevant to the student body. As for the security commissions report, I’m glad to see the efforts being put forward to gather more feedback, and I think it’s much appreciated by the students.

Floto: The big issue at the moment is the Public Safety Commission. The idea of arming public safety officers is alarming to many, but there are also those who support it. Our goal is not to push our own agendas but rather be the voice of the students.  We try to hear the concerns of the students, and there will be more to be done when the report from the Diversity Commission comes out.

What are your main goals this year?

Martino: My goal is to create an interest and coalition between the student body and local politics, getting people to have an interest in the county we’ll live in for four years. The University is such a large part of Monroe County and the state of New York. I want to get students registered to vote, and make them aware of the power you hold when you vote. Most people don’t realize that, as a student, you can vote wherever you are; it doesn’t have to be your home county.

Floto: My main goals are different projects related to mental health and eliminating the stigma associated with it. I’m looking at ways to improve resources and how resources are used on campus. I want to look at how the system is set up and ways students can be more involved.

What do you do for fun?

Martino: I just bought a new Harley Davidson motorcycle, and I love it. I ride it around campus. The best part is it only costs $35 all year to park it, and you can park in any lot. I also like to try new things. I tried quidditch my freshman year, I’ve tried squash, and I’m thinking of trying equestrian this year.

Floto: I like pretty much anything outdoors. I’m from Denver, so I love the Rocky Mountains. I spent every weekend but two this summer backpacking in the mountains. I like all things mechanical and have really taken an interest in mechanical watches. I love to build them. And I’m a huge Denver Broncos fan and fantasy football guy.

SA vice president Lance Floto.

SA vice president Lance Floto.

What’s your favorite type of music?

Floto: I listen to pretty much everything except metal. I know there are a lot of haters out there, but I really like country.

What would be your dream concert?

Floto: I’d love to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Martino: I don’t have a strong interest in music. Maybe the top 40 on Pandora. That’s pretty much it.

What has been your favorite class at Rochester?

Floto: The fall of freshman year, I took Intermediate Economics with Stephen Landsburg and really enjoyed it. And I just started a computer science class called Computer Models of Human Perception and Cognition. It seems really interesting.

Martino: My freshman year, I took Human Anatomy at the Medical Center. I loved taking a break from the engineering side of my brain. The class I’m looking forward to this year is a study on the motives behind political decision making.

What’s something few people know about you?

Floto: When I was younger, I was really into speed stacks, where you see how fast you can stack cups. I was pretty close to being competition ready. Then, I abandoned it and went to high school.

Martino: I’m the first person in my family to go to college.

What’s one thing you always bring to Rochester from home?

Floto: My Rubik’s Cube. I’ve solved it hundreds of times. It’s a nice stress reliever. I like to fidget, so having something in my hands all the time is great.

Martino: I don’t have much stuff in college. I got rid of a lot of things. But I always bring family pictures and pictures of friends.

Do you come from a big family?

Martino: I have a younger brother.

Floto: I’m the middle of three boys.

Biggest pet peeve?

Floto: If I’m in a packed hallway and the person in front of me is slow, it gets me going. And when I see people acting in their own self-interests, that really gets me. I like people that are “other” focused.

Martino: I really don’t like when people walk on the wrong side of the hallway. I hate when someone is in my way, walking toward me.

Celebrity you most want to meet:

Floto: Benedict Cumberbatch (who plays Sherlock Holmes in the TV series Sherlock). He just seems like a cool dude.

Martino: (Business magnate) Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. He’s so on the forefront and has a vision decades down the road for where he wants to see the world go.

You’re both seniors. What will you be doing a year from today?

Martino: I actually signed a contract to be commissioned in the U.S. Navy after graduation. It’s a four-year commitment. I’ll go to officer candidate school and then nuclear power school, and then I’ll be on a submarine somewhere. I think it’s good to do some service. It also gives me time to plan after graduation. I won’t have to worry about finding a job right away. My grandfather served for Italy in World War II, but I’ll be the first one in my family to serve for the United States.

Floto: I’m still figuring out where I’ll be next year, but I plan to work in the technology industry for a year and then head to grad school. So many sectors of the technology sector interest me, but I have a particular interest in the fields of education and aerospace.

How can students reach you?

Martino: My email is vmartin4@u.rochester.edu

Floto: My email is lfloto@u.rochester.edu

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