Robert Riccio, junior public relations communication major and marketing minor, is not the average Kean University student.
Riccio has been involved on campus since his freshman year, when he realized Kean University offered many clubs and Greek organizations. These extracurricular activities looked fun, and he wanted to be part of them.
"I'm a very energetic individual who likes to be a part of everything [I] can," Riccio said. "I don't like being bored; that's one of my worst fears."
Riccio's decision to join the fraternity Nu Delta Pi sprouted from how diverse the organization is, and not just in terms of ethnicity. He described it as every member being different, whereas some fraternities have a lot of the members with the same mentality.
"In Nu Delta Pi we have a mix of everybody," Riccio said. "Not everybody's the same and that's what really attracted me. And that was one of their catch phrases too: 'we're all not the same'."
His organization is one of the most unique fraternities and he is a unique person, so the match up is a good fit. He revealed that his current brothers were very natural when recruiting him and they never forced him to attend any events. Instead they asked him to hangout, and from there they became friends.
Currently serving as vice president on the Nu Delta Pi executive board, Riccio will be promoted to president next semester. His role as vice president includes the following tasks:
- Coordinating community service events
- Maintaining order at meetings; discipline of the fraternity
- Promoting brotherhood through bonding events
- Planning/coordinating main events
- Recruiting guest speakers, talent acts, etc. for events
- Promoting events and organizing work among the brothers
As a student in the Leadership Institute, he has completed a lot of volunteer work during his years at Kean University.
"All my community service used to be just from Leadership [Institute]. However, once I got introduced to Pi I realized that we could create our own community service events," Riccio said.
Although he still loves the Leadership Institute, he is not as actively involved in it anymore since he can now plan his own community service events within his fraternity.
"We actually went to Newark Penn Station... we basically made sandwiches and donated them and clothes to homeless people, which was really cool," Riccio said. "And that wasn't a scheduled trip or anything. That was just something that we did, like as an organization; we all went out as a brotherhood."
Other events Nu Delta Pi has done in the past include park clean ups and challenger baseball, where the brothers play baseball with children who have special needs. Riccio enjoys creating his own community service projects because he feels current projects tend to help the same causes and he enjoys reaching out to a new cause.
"The point of our organization [is that] we want to reach out to individuals that haven't been getting reached out to, that people don't realize need help," he said. "So, our mission is to help the people that haven't been helped."
Riccio is projected to graduate on time in May 2018 and is currently an on-campus resident, as his home is in Howell, N.J. As if he was not busy enough with his Greek organization, he also works at the Office of Admissions as a student ambassador. Here, he gives group tours and promotes Kean University to prospective students.
The last few semesters he was also a host on WKNJ, Kean University's radio station.
"Me and my sister actually had a little show, so we used to just talk about hot topics and it was fun. We had like six or seven episodes," Riccio said. "I'd love to start that back up again."
Riccio stays active through his hobbies, which include professional wrestling, sports and Parkour.
"I'm a very unique individual. I actually love all things professional wrestling; that is my favorite thing when it comes to watching and actually even training to become one," said Riccio.
Professional wrestling has been an interest of his since he was a kid. He also enjoys playing sports and used to wrestle in high school, but now sticks to playing basketball, football and soccer.
Riccio also releases some energy through Parkour and Freerunning. He even claimed to do flips off of the side ledge of the clock tower on campus. Doing flips and tricks are just some of his secret talents.
Although he is very energetic, he describes himself as laid back and enjoys unwinding with his friends, going out to eat or playing video games.
One of Riccio's biggest inspirations is his sister Amara, who is a senior at Kean University and also lives on campus.
"Back in 2008, she was actually hit by a car crossing a street near her dance recital in Lakewood, New Jersey," Riccio said. "She got hit and suffered a traumatic brain injury, and from there she had to re-learn how to walk, talk, eat, read and write, and I saw her go through a lot and her life really changed from that."
Instead of thinking she would never be the same again and having a negative attitude, Amara was the complete opposite. Riccio referred to her as the most positive, hard working and funny person he has ever met in his life.
"She didn't make it an excuse," Riccio said. "[Her accident] was there to push her, to make her work harder. So ever since then, I'm a very hard worker."
Riccio also has a "work-hard, play-hard" mindset.
"Every minute of the day you could be doing something to benefit yourself or somebody else. There's always something you could be doing," Riccio said.
Riccio spoke highly of his sister, talking about her high GPA and how she has her own non-profit organization.
"She gives back to people who have it even worse than her, so she doesn't make excuses," Riccio said. "Back in the day, I used to be the type of person that used to take everything for granted."
He said he would expect things like birthday and Christmas gifts and food on his plate when he came home from school everyday.
"Since then I was like, you know what, life is not like that," Riccio said.
Currently, Riccio represents two different individuals as a talent manager. He promotes the two people, books events, writes emails and makes sure they are doing the best they can.
"I want to be either a talent manager or a manager of a public relations firm," Riccio said, "but other than that, I do want to work in the professional wrestling industry as well."
With professional wrestling being a dream of his since he was a child, Riccio wants to become involved in a field related to event planning, advertising and marketing.
"Also, I need to get into a field where I can really just relate to the people," Riccio said. "I'm a people person. I like talking and inspiring people, so whatever field really fits me the best, that's what it is."
With big goals and aspirations, he wants to work in New York City because he believes if he can make it big there, he can make it big anywhere.