Senior Bennett Marano survives Geneseo, looks forward to career in special event planning

Senior Bennett Marano will graduate in May with much more than just a degree in business administration – he will move forward with lifelong friends, enriching experiences and a job lined up at an Ivy League university the day after graduation.

Marano is originally from Manlius, N.Y. and got his start at Geneseo in the spring semester of 2009. He said that even though this was the only school that offered him a deferred admission out of all 14 schools he applied to, he “chose Geneseo … because [he] liked the small-town atmosphere and the fact that the town and the campus was so connected.”

Throughout his college experience, Marano has immersed himself in an assortment of activities and jobs. From being a resident assistant in Livingston and Onondaga Halls to obtaining an orientation advisor position last summer, Marano’s main experiences are focused within student affairs.

“Working with 65 crazy freshmen, I essentially got to live freshman year all over again,” Marano said of his RA position in Onondaga Hall. “I winded up learning a lot more about myself than I expected.”

Marano also dabbles in performance ensembles. He is a singer in the a cappella group Exit 8 and in the spring 2011 semester he acted and sang in Cothurnus’ production of “Jekyll and Hyde.”

But that’s not all. He’s been an intern at the college union, participated in the spring break externship program in 2011 and now works for the Office of Alumni Relations as its student externship coordinator.

This still wasn’t enough to keep Marano busy. He went on two enriching service-learning trips: one to Biloxi, Miss. and the other to El Sauce, Nicaragua.

In Nicaragua, Marano drank upward of seven liters of water a day, had a night-long battle with a spider the size of his face, rode a sled down a volcano whilst being pummeled with ash, helped improve the town’s tourism business and lost 15 pounds.

“The thing I liked most about it was pushing myself out of my comfort zone,” Marano said, “When you’re off the grid like that it gives you time to reflect, think … here we are distracted by this, that and the other things, and down there they just enjoy one day at a time.”

Coincidentally, Marano went to Nicaragua the same time that his favorite show “Survivor” was filming its 21st season in the same country. Marano said that he is a fervent fan of the show and has sent in an audition tape every season since he turned 18. Since then, Marano said that he has made it a little closer to being cast on the show with every year.

Marano said he attributes his promising future to the externship program and the connections he made last year. The day after graduation he will move to New York City where he has obtained a student affairs position at Columbia University. He will be the youngest person in the division.

Marano will work as the university’s program coordinator, where he will be responsible for assisting in the development and coordination of the university’s special events – anything from a 10-person dinner with a dean to the university’s graduation ceremony. Looking back on his college years, Marano said he only has positive sentiments.

“As a senior you start to finally understand why all the upperclassmen and your parents say you should enjoy every moment in college,” he said, “Once it’s over it’s not coming back.”

“I owe Geneseo almost everything. I wouldn’t have the job I have lined up after graduation if it were not for Geneseo,” Marano said. “It changes you.”