Being a freshman political science major and first-year senator, Tyler Gacek aspires to be a voice for all students while also bettering himself and campus by obtaining different political perspectives.
Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Gacek moved to Concord, North Carolina, three years ago where he graduated from Cannon School. Gacek participated in model U.N., took advanced political science and government courses, and played violin and mandolin for the orchestra. This past summer, he interned for Richard Hudson, the North Carolina district eight house representative .
“I was a delegate for Cannon School’s model U.N. team, and through that, I realized I really loved to debate,” Gacek said.
By acquiring experience in formal debate and expressing opinion through representing others, Gacek said he believes student government was a step in the right direction toward his goal of running for political office.
Gacek’s mission as a freshman senator is to be a voice for those on campus who do not want to suffer backlash. He strives to be available for all students who wish to express their beliefs, especially those who feel their opinions do not matter.
“I want to be a voice for students on campus who are afraid to speak their mind,” Gacek said. “I want to take the brunt of political harshness so others don’t have to.”
Gacek said he chose to attend App State for the natural beauty and because its atmosphere is different than what he is accustomed to. Gacek said he wants to be seen as open-minded, respectful and a resource for others who want to share their opinions.
As a new face in campus politics, Gacek said he wants the public to see that he cares about people and the right to freedom of speech. He encourages others to speak out and debate in a respectful and formal manner.
“I believe that intelligence can be gained through perspective, but perspective does not derive from intelligence,” Gacek said. “I wouldn’t learn any other opinions by going to a campus that just agrees with me.”
Gacek said another one of his goals is to expand clubs to fulfill general education requirements. As a member of the student affairs committee, Gacek said he hopes for a wider variety of credit opportunity for existing classes or clubs that are educationally or physically intensive.
“I believe there are plenty of club sports that should count towards physical education requirements and there are many music programs that should count towards fine arts requirements,” Gacek said. “For example, marching band should count for both because it is very physical and very musical.”
Michael Maldonado-Melgar, junior healthcare management major and friend of Gacek, said Gacek is determined to foster relationships between the entire political spectrum.
“I noticed that Tyler is very receptive to others’ opinions and is very willing to cooperate, which is an important aspect of leadership,” Maldonado-Melgar said. “Tyler is very passionate, focused and determined.”
Maldonado-Melgar said he has only known Gacek since the beginning of the academic school year but he quickly became friends with him and enjoys spending time with him socially.
“Upon meeting Tyler, I knew that he had a lot of passion and motivation just by seeing the way that he operates,” Maldonado-Melgar said. “Tyler is also very selfless and always looks into how he can help others before thinking of himself.”
Dylan Bucey, freshman political science major and Gacek’s roommate, said Gacek wants what is best for the university and will fight for those ideals.
“We will never agree on actual political issues,” Bucey said. “However, I know he is determined to fight for what he believes in.”
While experiencing his first semester at App, Gacek said that he plans to bring unity to everyone on the political spectrum while representing the idea of free speech.
“Even though I have my own opinions, I must learn to understand others’ beliefs,” Gacek said. “I am going to work towards ensuring free speech and political discourse on this campus.”
Story by Connor Beatty
Photo courtesy of SGA
Featured photo caption: Tyler Gacek, recently elected to serve as a freshman senator to SGA.