Michael Kalage’s belief in life is to leave everything better than he found it. “I think we should all have the goal of contributing more to this world than we take, and I try to do that whenever possible,” said the director of student engagement at Marywood University.
As director he oversees the planning and implementation of social, recreational, and educational activities for undergraduate and graduate students, advises the Student Government Association and Graduate Student Council, plans and facilitates new student and the transfer orientation programs, and supports student clubs and organizations.
Kalage also facilitates Safe Zone trainings for faculty and staff to ensure that the institution remains a safe and inclusive place for LGBTQ+ individuals and hosts leadership development programs to help students hone teamwork, communication, and problem solving skills to prepare for their careers.
Additionally he serves on the university’s Strategic Planning Task Force, President’s Council, and COVID Action Team.
In the community Kalage is active with voter registration and turnout efforts. He spends a lot of time writing letters, making phone calls, and sending text messages to voters to encourage them to participate in the democratic process. He established “Pacers to the Polls” campaign to increase student voter registration rates and turnout rates in elections at Marywood.
He volunteers with organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and Sierra Club.
His mentors include the late Toni Kampf who helped him to choose his career path and Kimberly Coleman who prepared him for the role he currently holds by teaching him the technical skills and knowledge needed as the director at Marywood.
He believes his success is primarily attributed to his ability to plan ahead and make decisions based on long-term consequences rather than short-term payoffs or convenience. “I am always thinking ahead to how something will benefit me in the long run even if it does not seem to have an immediate reward,” he said.
After graduating from a small high school, he chose to attend a large public college to obtain a different experience. Upon graduation he chose to attend a small private school for his graduate education to diversify his resume. Kalage earned his bachelor degree in business management from West Chester University and his masters degree in higher education administration from Marywood University.
“Now in my current and previous positions, I rarely say no when I am offered additional responsibilities and opportunities, even though it means I am often very busy, because it is all valuable experience,” he admits.
His parents have supported him every step of the way through his life to which he is very grateful.
He received the West Chester University Citizen Leader award, Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges & Universities, and Excellence in Programming award from the National Association for Campus Activities.