As a wedding singer, Colin Saltry frequently has to pander to the audience. At the request of his 93-year-old grandmother, he often finds himself singing the Frank Sinatra standby “My Way.”
While at Temple, Saltry normally held the microphone as a member of Temple Student Government. Moving up the ranks from TSG senate clerk to TSG senate president, and ending his term as TSG Student Body President, Saltry is more recognizable on Main Campus than most students.
The Scranton, Pa. native doesn’t hesitate to share his Owl pride.
“Temple was, I guess, my 10th choice that I applied to,” Saltry said. “Temple was like 13th grade. That was the perception.”
Saltry said he applied to Temple to please his parents.
“I was too cool for state school,” he added.
After visiting St. Joseph’s University, Villanova University and Drexel University, Saltry deemed Main Campus “the only reasonable choice. It just doesn’t feel like a school with 39,000 people,” he said.
While a freshman economics major, Saltry met Jeff Dempsey, then a senior political science major, after mistakenly attending a pre-convocation meeting within the College for Liberal Arts. Saltry credited this as the impetus to join TSG as senate clerk.
The experience was comical, Saltry said, but after Dempsey resigned as senate president, Saltry stepped in as TSG senate pro tempore. But it was an unexpected housing mix-up pushed Saltry further into student government.
“I was supposed to live in Temple Towers my sophomore year, me and three other guys,” he said. “And all of a sudden we get this email from [Office of University] Housing saying, ‘Oh, it’s now going to be an eight-person room. Sorry, here’s some free pizza and 50 Diamond Dollars for your troubles.’ And I thought that was wrong.”
He brought the matter to TSG and led the negotiations with the university. The 80 people effected overall by the confusion each received $200 per semester.
“[It] didn’t really help the situation, but at least it was better than free pizza and 50 Diamond Dollars,” he said.
Moving forward, acting as TSG Student Body President tested Saltry.
“You’re at a time disadvantage and an information disadvantage,” he said. “You can’t ever sit down and ponder things.”
“I failed a lot, and I’ve learned how not to do that again,” he said candidly.
Saltry said he now wears a tie in every meeting he attends, having learned from his first meeting with President Ann Weaver Hart as student life chairman on the Student Affairs committee.
“I had a suit on, but no tie. I had an open-collared shirt, and then she sort of stared into my ‘non-tie’ area,” he said.
Meanwhile, his work in TSG made classes and charming his teachers difficult.
“My teachers probably hate me,” he said. “This semester, I was one of the worst students that walked the face of the earth.”
Saltry said he is optimistic of Temple’s near future, as administrative changes and new construction take shape within the university.
“I have a sneaking suspicion that the next few years are going to be really transformative,” he said.
He added that a regression for Temple would be a refusal to continue moving forward.
“I don’t think we can be satisfied where we are,” he said.
Though the goal was once a childhood dream, Saltry said if he runs for public office it will most likely be for presidential status.
“I wanted the perks of the job,” he said. “I wanted to walk around and I wanted to be referred to as Mr. President. Having done [TSG] I wouldn’t need to do that again.”
The current political climate doesn’t worry him. Saltry said his time speaking with politicians and individuals as a member of Temple College Democrats introduced him to different but not conflicting ideas.
“I don’t see that gridlock…I don’t see that for our generation,” he said. “I think we’re smarter than that.”
Saltry will enroll in Beasley Law School this fall, though he said he has not decided what type of law to pursue.
“Being at TSG for three and a half years, now four…I’ve gotten so much out of this university. I feel like I owe it to them to stick around,” he said.
Until then, summer is a popular season for celebrations, both graduations and weddings.
“My goal is to get a lot of work over the summer,” Saltry said.
“I hate ‘My Way,’ because it’s a guy at the end of his life,” Saltry said. “And it’s sad but it’s uplifting. I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. I’m not going to be bringing people down.”
Amelia Brust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.