A Seton Hall alum is on a path to becoming a public servant leader.
Nicholas Zeitlinger, a diplomacy major who graduated in December 2018, is running for borough council in his hometown of North Haledon, New Jersey. He is looking for Seton Hall students to intern with his campaign.
“I always knew public service was the route for me,” Zeitlinger said. He added that he feels like he’s always been a community activist, as he spends time advocating for LGBTQ rights. Now, he is “taking that role and putting it into office.”
“Anyone who knows about problems in their community should want to get involved as I did,” he said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a brave position to take or something courageous or heroic. I’m just someone who sees stuff happening in my community and wants to lend an honest eye or honest observation to it.”
The borough council campaign isn’t the start of Zeitlinger’s public service career. While he was still a student, Zeitlinger ran for a position on the borough Board of Education for Manchester Regional High School. He lost the election by the mail-in votes. However, Zeitlinger said he was contacted by his local Democratic Party organization who recognized his campaign and invited him to sit in a few meetings.
“To me, it feels like I waited too long to start,” he said. “After graduating, I felt like I had to get into something. I was hungry for something. I was looking into Democratic meetings and looking into what I want to do and what things I am interested in after college.”
Zeitlinger currently works as a project manager at Rubenstein, a strategic communications firm, but he wanted to find something that fulfilled his passion for public service.
Zeitlinger said he advises diplomacy majors to think and reflect upon why they chose their major and why they chose something that involves multiculturalism and public service. “It’s all about bringing it home to what makes you happy and how it fulfills you in that way,” he said. “For me, it’s crafting and writing stories and bringing people together for solutions on the public service level.”
Zeitlinger said his plans for council include organizing the town’s system to better benefit the town’s diverse population, bringing more service and transparency to the population, encouraging the town’s school system to attend the regional high school and bringing the town’s policies up-to-date with how it should communicate with its citizens.
His campaign is currently hiring interns. According to a press release issued by the campaign, it “is seeking students who want to bolster their resume with the volunteer experience of having worked on the policy research, design, and strategizing that goes into a successful grassroots election.”
“If students want a research position, it’s really rare in the policy world that you get to have a face-to-face meeting with a politician,” Zeitlinger said. “I want to offer that experience with other people.”
Bryan Yeoh, a senior diplomacy and economics major, is working with Zeitlinger on his campaign and said he is most excited for the planning and strategizing portion of the campaign.
“If students are interested in grassroots politics and supporting youth involvement in politics, then Nicholas’ campaign is a good starting point,” Yeoh said. “Knowing Nicholas personally, I know for a fact that interns would have the opportunity to substantively contribute towards the campaign and leave the internship with unique experiences that will separate themselves from their peers.”
Miree Kim, a sophomore diplomacy major, works on the design and marketing parts of Zeitlinger’s campaign. “It’s a good opportunity to experience what it is actually like to be involved in the political world outside of college,” Kim said. “This is what we would call a grassroots movement, and I feel like it would be an interesting experience since your voice and opinion would be considered much more than how it will be usually treated in a larger group.”
Students interested in interning can email Zeitlinger at NicholasZeitlingerForCouncil@Gmail.com with contact information and working experience. A resume and cover letter are not required.
Liam Oakes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @lm_oakes.