Evan Gross, BSBA ’12

in Student Profiles, Undergraduate Student Profiles
March 9th, 2011

A Mayor in the Making?

evan-grossListening to him talk a mile a minute and watching the excitement build on his face, it’s easy to see how junior Evan Gross (BSBA ’12) convinced the City Council of his hometown, Scarsdale, N.Y., to choose him over other candidates as the councilman for Youth Affairs.

“When I spoke with the village trustees about why they should choose me, I explained that I could offer the most unique perspective. I had just graduated from the high school and could give insight into youth affairs that most adults couldn’t possibly dream of. And I thought it would freshen up not only the board itself but the way it’s perceived by others as well.”

City Council isn’t the only thing Evan’s talked his way into. Being a huge baseball fan (and a proud Yankees supporter) and having umpired local baseball games since the eighth grade, Evan also co-manages the Little League of Scarsdale with his best friend Matt Ursillo, who attends Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.—all the way from Boston. “We put together a formal pitch for the board of directors that oversees the League,” he says. “Since we go to different universities about 300 miles from home, they asked us how we would do it. We came up with a comprehensive outline for spring break training and effectively scheduling games.”

That was two years ago, and they’re still running the program from afar, with great success, Evan adds. They manage more than 50 people involved in the league and have recently been asked to take over the management of a Fall Ball program. Sometimes they have to drop everything they’re doing in their respective cities to deal with umpires canceling an hour before a scheduled game, but in the two years since they’ve taken over the league, not a single game has gone uncovered.

“It’s a lot of fun and gives us a chance to work with parents, help kids in the community, and stay involved with baseball and my hometown. It’s one of the most fun things I do. It’s a junior version of what I hope to do someday in management. It’s definitely taught me how to deal with different types of personalities and adapt to different kinds of people.”

Evan was fueled to do volunteer work because he wanted to make a difference in his community. “It was the idea that things are great, but…” he said, “I could definitely see a couple things going in a better direction.” As an example, he tells the story of the senior internship required at his high school and how he was able to effect change. “The guidelines and rules they designed for the internship were so horrendous that I had to let the school administration know they had a problem. When I graduated, they asked me to come back and become an advisor. So I was happy that other students could benefit from my feedback.”

Evan is particularly happy to help the youth in his community. “Schools are the most important thing in a community. If you can shape them, you can shape the way your town evolves.”

He feels so strongly about this that he’s considering running for mayor of Scarsdale in the next election. “Local politics are more interesting because you know the people and the issues, and you can really relate and effect change.

“When you come across issues that impact your daily life, or the daily lives of those around you, you have to stand up,” he says. “And from my experience, I’ve found that when you find the right person to talk to you and offer your opinion in a respectful and intelligent way, you’d be surprised how easily you can change things.”

It’s clear that when Evan puts his mind to something, he doesn’t stop until he achieves it. Last year, when he and seven other male students got together for the College of General Studies’ Capstone project, a 50-page research paper, he was told that an 8-man team would never win. Evan, the team leader, wanted to prove the naysayers wrong. He gave his team a motto—”If you’re not first, you’re last”—and flung himself into the project. The group wrote a comprehensive new outline on global warming and devised a mathematical formula to determine who was emitting what and in what capacity. Out of 17 teams, Evan’s group won the Capstone Award, which they received during Parents Weekend this past fall.

If he doesn’t win mayoralty in Scarsdale, Evan would like to go into accounting after graduation, following in the footsteps of his father. “Accounting just makes sense to me,” he says. “Money helps determine everything.”

If all else fails, he’d be perfectly happy as the commissioner of Major League Baseball.