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Natural leader works to educate peers

Jeff Castillo wasn’t involved in student groups during high school. Castillo, who grew up in a single-parent home in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, had to work and help his family.

He resolved to be more involved in college, and he has fulfilled that pledge at Binghamton.

Castillo, 21, said he knew Binghamton was the right school for him the first time he saw the campus. “When I came to visit, I felt I belonged here,” he said.

Castillo, the first in his family to attend college, is double majoring in economics and sociology. He may pursue an MBA after graduation in 2009, though he’s not sure yet.
The natural leader was president of Digman Hall as a freshman. He joined Lambda Upsilon Lambda and served as vice president before becoming president in 2007-08. He was also president of the Latino Greek Council in 2007.

Castillo, who was an orientation advisor in 2006, was a resident advisor in Hinman College and EOP peer counselor in 2007. He also holds a job as a technician with audiovisual services.

But don’t let that long list of commitments fool you: His real passion is reserved for the 20:1 Fraternity Sexual Assault Education Program, in which fraternity men educate each other about sexual assault. The program draws its name from a statistic that showed 20 women are assaulted each hour.

“Your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, sexual assault can happen to anybody,” Castillo said, noting he has two younger sisters. “That’s motivation enough for me.”
Dara Raboy-Picciano, a senior counselor at the University Counseling Center, is a co-founder of the 20:1 program. She said Castillo easily builds a rapport and trust with fraternity men.

“He’s dedicated to really making a difference,” she said. “He has a unique ability to bring in a sense of humor — and to be very serious when he needs to be.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08