SGA president experiences politics on national stage

October 29, 2021

Matthew Hutnick headshot photograph.Detroit Mercy senior Matthew Hutnick has always been interested in politics and he recently saw how politics work on the national stage as an intern for U.S. House Rep. Lisa McClain.

Hutnick worked for McClain, a Michigan Republican, in Washington, D.C., over the summer, doing everything from helping people with unemployment to obtaining passports. He attended meetings on McClain’s behalf and helped work on bills.

“I was able to do a lot of extra legislative research regarding bills,” Hutnick said. “There were four interns in the office and we were assigned a topic to research for a bill. It was about flushable wipes. It was introduced in the House. It removed the term flushable because they cause a lot of backup in our sewage systems. Anything can be flushable — I can flush a golf ball if I wanted to, but it’s not going to break down properly. It implemented new standards and new testing in order to be able to include that term ‘flushable.’

“We were able to do all the work on the bill from research to language to getting co-sponsors, which was a great experience. I learned a lot from that.”

Hutnick also introduced an idea for another potential bill.

“The idea was concerning the importation of Canadian waste into America, specifically Michigan,” Hutnick said. “We import loads and loads of Canadian waste. It was a trade agreement between the U.S. and Canada.”

Hutnick enjoyed the work and the networking opportunities with not only other members of Congress, but also the other interns.

“My favorite part of the work was the legislative research, but my favorite part of being out there was the atmosphere,” Hutnick said. “I was able to network with so many like-minded people around my age, who have the same goals and the same drive that I do. That’s something that’s hard to find. … I really, really enjoyed being able to meet so many like-minded people.”

Hutnick, a Psychology major, is the current Detroit Mercy Student Government Association (SGA) president. Hutnick has been involved with the SGA since his freshman year and was elected president during his junior year.

A photograph of Matthew Hutnick with Rep. Lisa McClain on the steps of government buildings in Washington, D.C.“We’ve really focused on food, public safety, facilities, residence life and just focusing on being that channel of communication between the students and our administration on campus,” Hutnick said. “Additionally, we’ve been focused on recruiting a lot and creating a diverse student body in our organization, which represents all different forms of Student Life as well as academics.”

According to Hutnick, the only university he wanted to attend was Detroit Mercy. Hutnick was introduced to Detroit Mercy by his sister, Katelynn, who graduated from the school and its dental school.

“This University was my only choice,” Hutnick said. “I didn’t apply to any other colleges or think about applying to any other colleges. I didn’t look at any other campuses. My sister came here and graduated in 2014. She was on the dance team when she was here so when I was younger I used to spend a lot of time here, coming to the basketball games and watching her dance. I spent a lot of time on the campus. I knew immediately I wanted to apply here.”

Once Hutnick arrived on Detroit Mercy’s campus as a student, he knew he made the right decision.

“As I started attending classes here and living on campus, I realized everybody on the campus is so kind,” Hutnick said. “Everyone wants to help each other. The smaller campus atmosphere that this University has is amazing. I feel like every professor on campus really wants to get to know you, they really want to help you out, they really don’t want to see you fail at anything. And because of the smaller class sizes and because of the smaller campus, you are able to do that.”

Hutnick’s plans after graduation are still up in the air, but he hopes down the line to attend law school and run for public office.

“Leadership is a huge passion of mine,” Hutnick said. “Leadership to me is not asserting power or proving authority over anybody at all. It’s more about giving leaders opportunity to lead themselves. Everybody can lead, sometimes they just need the extra boost, and once you give it to them, they definitely have it in them.”

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