Montclair’s SGA President Advocates for Change from Campus to Capitol Hill

Montclair Student Government President Richard Steiner-Otoo in his final speech as Admissions Ambassador doing what he does best, speaking to incoming students about getting involved in campus life. (Photo by John J. LaRosa for Montclair State University)

Graduate Spotlight: Richard Steiner-Otoo, a ‘once in a decade’ Red Hawk leader, sets his sights on public service

Years of service in the Montclair State University Student Government Association have made Richard Steiner-Otoo one of the most visible students on campus. From tabling for SGA, speaking at campus gatherings, including President Jonathan Koppell’s investiture, to volunteering and leading prospective students on campus tours, Steiner-Otoo has been living a busy Red Hawk life.

Thanks to his time in SGA, first as a legislator, then attorney general and president the past two years, Steiner-Otoo is clear about his career path in public service after graduation. Specifically, his goal is to work in the People’s House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Eventually, he plans to pursue first an MBA and then a law degree.

“The SGA made me realize that my real passion was in helping people,” says Steiner-Otoo, who will be a Commencement speaker and among the 3,648 students graduating on May 13 at Prudential Center. “I honestly did not know what that would even look like but the exposure to public service here on campus made me incredibly interested in it.”

From the outset, it was clear that Steiner-Otoo, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Geographic, Environmental and Urban Studies and a minor in Political Science, would leave an indelible mark on Montclair and beyond.

Despite his many Montclair commitments and full-time academic schedule, Steiner-Otoo, a member of Phi Delta Theta, also served as president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, which donated of more than 500 pantry items to underprivileged communities, hosted an anti-drug-abuse workshop and held a fundraiser in support of the Drug-Free America Foundation.

“Richard has been nothing short of amazing since he started at Montclair State University,” says Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life Dawn Meza Soufleris. “From his first month on campus, Richard became engaged in so many aspects of campus and in these four years has succeeded in everything. From his SGA leadership, to Greek engagement, to working multiple campus jobs in both Student Development and Campus Life as well as Enrollment Management, Richard epitomizes what it means to be a Red Hawk, and did all of this while excelling in his academics.”