“Never Forget Your Roots” — Student Government President Andrew Salmieri


Andrew Salmeiri“Never Forget Your Roots” — Student Government President Andrew Salmieri Reflects on His Path as a Student Leader 


Andrew Salmieri, a third-generation Italian-American from Brooklyn and current senior at the Colin Powell School, rose from senator to vice president to president of the student government at CCNY. In this interview, he recalls the tightly-knit family relations, the gifted and talented programs, and the Catholic school teachings that laid the foundation of his worldview, which is oriented toward service and social justice. Specifically, Salmieri discusses the impact of his volunteer work abroad on his consciousness of global issues and his ability to communicate across cultures. Finally, he recounts his proudest accomplishment as a student leader: helping to pass the credit/no-credit grading policy on behalf of students struggling to pursue an education amidst the pandemic in fall 2020. 
Tell us your story. Where are you from, and what has brought you to where you are today? 
I am from Bath Beach, a small working-class neighborhood in southwest Brooklyn. I am a third-generation Italian-American and grew up in a very close knit circle of family and friends. As an elementary student, I was in New York City’s Gifted and Talented Program at P.S. 99. As a middle school student, I attended I.S. 239 as part of their Athletics Talent program. Finally, when it came time to choose a high school, I received a scholarship and attended Xavier High School. Here, I was immersed in Catholic social teaching and an intensive liberal arts education. I also had the opportunity to volunteer and serve communities in Maryland, Tennessee, and Ecuador during my summer breaks. These four years molded me as an individual and solidified my egalitarian outlook on life.
What brought you to City College?
There are a number of things that brought me to City College: the great location, the storied history of achievements and advocacy, and its abundance of opportunities. However, chief amongst those is the Colin Powell School. This school caught my eye as a truly gifted institution where I would be able to immerse myself in the social sciences.
What is your passion or purpose behind pursuing what you did at City College?
I am pursuing a B.A. in International Studies (International Relations concentration), with a minor in public policy. My studies and relevant experiences have allowed me to become an extremely open and compassionate person, capable of communication and understanding. I am fascinated with different types of cultures, whether it be my own or that of a different part of the world. My travels to Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and France have been a part of that fascination and interest in different cultures and if life permits it, I plan to do more traveling as I get older. My interests include global affairs, economics, politics, and geography, and I have been able to delve into these interests at City College. I feel that these interests, along with the aforementioned interest in culture, help me to see the world in a more complete, interconnected way while seeing the beauty, history, and diversity in each individual.
How has your career unfolded, and how has the Colin Powell School helped you on your path?
Getting involved with student government allowed me to truly blossom at City College. I started out as senator and rose to become vice president of Student Affairs and currently president. It has allowed me to grow as a communicator, listener, and advocate. Beyond that, the Colin Powell School has given me the opportunity to participate in the Climate Policy Fellows and Honors Program in Legal Studies. I am receiving training and professional guidance in the realm of policy and law. I have been able to analyze the local and global intersections of human identity. Through these studies I have become a passionate writer and informed citizen. And they motivated me to want to continue my education and fight for justice. That is why I plan on pursuing a Master of Urban Planning degree at Hunter College after I conclude my exceptional career at City College. I hope to aid in molding NYC into an equitable and climate-friendly city of the future.
Please share a significant memory or accomplishment from your time at CCNY.
The most memorable accomplishment I have at City College is when I was USG VP of Student Affairs during the 2020-21 academic year. The entire Senate and Cabinet of student government, former USG President Shza Zaki, and I were tasked with advocating on behalf of the students for a credit/no credit policy for Fall 2020. The Cabinet and I were in charge of creating a well-rounded resolution for student government to pass as well as attending meetings with the faculty to discuss particulars and voice student interests. With our powerful ambition and effective rallying of colleagues and constituents, the resolution was passed and implemented by the college for the Fall 2020 semester.
Do you have any advice for current or future students?
While studying should always be an integral part of your academic life, I think there are more deeply-rooted foundations that students should tap into as they go about their daily life. That means showing gratitude to your family, friends, and people who have helped you get to where you are now, treating everyone you meet kindly, giving back to your community, and never forgetting your roots. I believe that having a solid base from where your outlook on life flows from is immensely helpful in helping you face the challenges of everyday life.

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