Spotlight Member: Marco Gargano
Marco Gargano is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas studying Economics planning to head to dental school after graduation. He was born in Brooklyn, New York but raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He is Vice President of the Gamma Upsilon chapter of Sigma Nu, and a member of pledge class 2015. He started a non-profit organization that teaches children about proper oral hygiene and care, called Natural Teeth. Best of all he bleeds razorback red. To say this a young man is going places is an understatement.
His major is unique and not one most people have thought of. He explains the setup as “I’m an economics major with a chemistry minor on a pre-dental track. It sounds confusing, but my major is through Fulbright instead of Walton, so most of my prerequisites actually correlate with the pre-dental track.”
He was also a key aspect and founder in the nonprofit, Natural Teeth. He explains how the idea came to him as, “Basically, I was sitting in a chemistry class last April and was thinking to myself, “Wow, I don’t go to dental school for another three years. That’s a while before I can help anyone out in what I want to do the most.” Naturally, the program started with Marco’s desire to help others. When asked if there were any downsides he said “Although there have been countless hours of hard work, phone calls, and emails, we’re officially a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the mission to promote dental health through education and philanthropy.” His explanation of the organization and their mission was best put as “We reach out to different schools in order to teach children from K-4th grade our “Superhero Program,” where they learn how to brush their teeth, floss, and eat healthy. The other half of our organization is collecting donations in order to give dental supplies to children who would otherwise go without.” In just four months they’ve even taught over a thousand children, and have many more engagements schedules. This program is truly incredible.
When asked where he could see himself in 10 years he told us two different visions. “One is that I finish dental school, move back to Arkansas (Arkansas doesn’t have a dental school), and begin working in my own practice. The other scenario is that I specialize after dental school and become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.” The thought of being a surgeon doesn’t scare him, but does not want it to get in the way of his personal life. “I’d love to become a surgeon; however, life happens and continuing my education for another ten + years is a daunting task. If the Lord blesses me with a wife and children, I may decide not to because family is so important to me and I want to spend as much time as possible with my future children.”
His love for Sigma Nu truly shines through as he tells me himself of his dedication, especially with his position of Vice President. “There aren’t many things in life that I love more than Sigma Nu Fraternity, so to be able to hold such a high title amongst our members is truly an honor.” He adds about his experience of holding the position and interacting with the other members saying “They can be rowdy at times, but overall they’re great guys and are so committed to helping our current members succeed.”
Why Sigma Nu?
When asked about why he chose Sigma Nu, he told us his personal story. He said that he didn’t participate in much pre-rush, but by preference night Sigma Nu sealed the deal with him. When talking about his rush experience, “During formal rush I was actually leaning towards a different house on campus, but preference night was what sold me on Sigma Nu.” He went on to tell us of how Sigma Nu was the right decision, “What sold me was the young men who were so prideful to call themselves Sigma Nus. They were successful in all calibers of their life, from being a dominant group for GPA to landing some of the most enticing internships and job offers imaginable. But most importantly it was easy to tell that the brotherhood between these guys was unbreakable, that they one another as their own family.” His pride really developed for his brothers when what he saw during rush held steady, “I know that everything I saw was true, that our fraternity creates an unbreakable brotherhood between boys and turns them into refined young men, The Gentlemen of Sigma Nu Fraternity.”
When asked if he encourages his peers to join Greek life he laments on all the positives that it has brought him. It helped him adjust into unknown territory, “Being a first-generation American and the first in my family to attend college, I didn’t really know what to expect. This isn’t just for fraternities (or as I called them, “frats”) but for classes, dorm life, and everything in between.“ He also sees how Greek life can bring so much more to an individual during college, “Greek Life helps so many young students find their niche on campus and helps so many older students develop their plans for post college.” But he doesn’t deny the social aspect as well, but has a great head on his shoulders. “Don’t get me wrong, the parties are an absolute blast, but every student here at the University of Arkansas came here to get a great education and graduate, not to just be in a fraternity; however, the latter helps with the former.”
We can’t ignore the fact that social scene is a huge part of fraternity life and his enthusiasm for the socializing is inevitable. He says “College parties are fun, but they’re even better when you’re surrounded by the guys who you call your brothers. “ He’s proud of the parties they thrown and are known for. “Our functions, such as Band of Brothers, Luau, and Sigma NuOrleans are some of the biggest nights on campus for the year. The house was designed to have a very friendly and open atmosphere with our big patio and dining area, and I think that it’s safe to say that nothing beats a Sigma Nu tailgate and our BBQ.” If you haven’t popped over to the Sigma Nu porch during game day, you’re missing good food and a good time.
He lived in house this year at Sigma Nu, at times a bit rowdy but wouldn’t change a thing. “I live on the second floor, which is also known as the “Shark Tank.” It’s loud at times, but there are so many benefits to living here. “But his love for his brothers overcome any living challenge. Sigma Nu is the only house on campus where everyone gets their own room, so not having a roommate this year has been great for when I need some alone time.” When asked if he would like to live in house all four years he wasn’t quite sure, “I’ll be living here next year as well, and then we’ll see what happens senior year.”
When asked if he has any advice for someone going through IFC Recruitment, he gave us a detailed list. “Keep an open mind. There are so many young men out there who look at the University of Arkansas and have certain paradigms about certain houses, but keeping an open mind gives them the ability to see how well they fit in with the guys they’ll potentially call their brothers one day.” His second piece of advice is unique and couldn’t apply more. “You don’t owe anyone anything.” All rushees should go where they best fit in and are the happiest, even if that means declining a bid from a chapter that really wants a rushee to join.” This advice cannot be more true for any college guy deciding to participate in fraternity recruitment.
When asked about what he is most excited for these next 2 and half years he said “I’m excited to start going out on Dickson and exploring more of the city and seeing my friends become “adults” with their jobs and what not.” Have to love a boy who is excited for his friend’s futures.
Sigma Nu has a camping trip each year called Backwoods Luau, despite the cold weather this year he still had fun. “It’s a great time though, we all drive up to Missouri and rent out a massive field and have a camping trip with bonfires, burgers, and good music.” They also host a party each year at the house that is notorious called, Band of Brothers; “Band of Brothers is a ton of fun, especially with how the house looks. We have 1,000 sandbags and basically set up the front of the house like a war zone.” It’s a two-part party for the brothers, “The Friday night of the event is date night and the Saturday night is an open party where we have a big name artist perform.” We’re sure this party is hard to beat.
His thoughts on the Arkansas Razorbacks this season were conflicting. “Watching Razorback football is one of the most stressful parts of my life, but I think our losses to Texas A&M and Alabama were just well fought games, unlike Auburn… but beating TCU and Florida was huge.” This was counteracted with the social scene that football brings, “We’ve had so many home games this year, which has been fun because we always tailgate and those are a blast.” Stressful but nothing a good tailgate cannot take care of.
Our final question, and maybe the most important was what he calls the deliciousness of melted cheese. He answered with confidence, “Cheese dip, this is Arkansas and the Texas people can call it cheese dip or go back to the queso land.”
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.