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Michael Agosto Takes on a New Role at Peddie

Marissa Boice '20

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Director of Community Life, Michael Agosto, arrived back on campus this fall to take on the role of directing Student Activities. Agosto is currently in his eighth year at Peddie and has worked in Admissions for his past seven. “I loved admissions; it was a great responsibility that brought me satisfaction and pride, to be able to build a class each year,” said Agosto. Four years into admissions, however, he found himself enjoying focusing on the Peddie kids that were already here. From this, Agosto met with Head of School Peter Quinn, and over the past two years, they developed what Agosto calls his “dream job”. Agosto and Quinn created the position “Director of Community Life,” which encompasses the role of directing Student Activities, teaching Community Life, and facilitating various other events with Peddie students. Agosto has not only changed the term from “SNA” to “Weekend Activities,” but he has also implemented several additional changes to improve Student Activities.

When planning what activities to host this year, Agosto came to the conclusion that he did not want to rely on vague opinions of what activities students liked or did not, but rather a credible survey ranking activities based on a compilation of activities offered over the last four years. “This is not rocket science; students can easily go through the list ranking what activities they liked and didn’t,” said Agosto. Based on the survey, Agosto concentrated the highest-ranking activities into the month of September, starting the weekends off with action-packed events. By doing so, he partially aimed to teach students to be rational and learn how to prioritize. “I trust the kids, I trust that they will be able to [manage their time], and we are trying to teach you how to do that. Don’t tell me, show me,” said Agosto.

“A part of my goal is also to expand the weekend, and one is promoting activities during the week,” said Agosto. He plans to have some activities during exam week, such as a trip to either paintball or a spa on Sunday to relieve stress, a puppy pen on campus on Monday, and massage chairs on campus on Tuesday. “I take my fun and planning serious and I think the kids should too, only because it helps you survive longer, operate at your best, sometimes the best thing you need to do is walk away from it, and take a break and come back to figure it out,” said Agosto.

Another change that Agosto has presented to Peddie students this year is the way in which Student Activities announces weekend events. The all-school colorful flyer emails have been replaced by weekly videos, starring Peddie students Chris Mayo ’20 and Marlyn Johnson ’19, which are played at community meeting. Agosto said, “Mayo reminds me of a giant human being with the ore of a light heart tiny freshman boy [while] Marlyn is the ‘unintentional funny by how he lives life’ guy.”

Jessica Cheng ‘20 shared, “Personally, I love the Weekend Activities this year. There are so many more options than last year. The videos at community meeting also hype the Peddie community up about all the exciting opportunities they have.”

Agosto has also changed the way signing up for weekend activities works; signup sheets, which were also sent out through email in previous years, are now available on the Peddie AM. He has strictly enforced a signup deadline every Thursday by 3 p.m. in order to settle all arrangements, including number of buses and faculty members on duty. In addition, the signups allow “students to have equal opportunity,” according to Agosto, “to sign up whenever there is limited space, creating a standard universal opportunity.” The newly enforced deadline policy is aimed to teach students the importance of commitment as well as time management. However, some students express different opinions on the new sign up system. “I am new to Peddie this year and I don’t like how sign-up sheets end on Thursday, and I can’t sign up on the day of the activity,” said Yejin Seo ’20.

Agosto has two main principles that guide him as he takes on the role of Director of Student Life. One is doing more while also being technical and precise; he aims to think of any little thing that may possibly go wrong and find a way to work around it. The other principle is doing everything with the best interest of students in mind. “This is my island, and I will stay up till 3 a.m. to work on the community meeting video not because of my interest, but for the students,” said Agosto.

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Michael Agosto Takes on a New Role at Peddie