"Fit" is one of the biggest factors students look for when they are exploring college options in high school.
For David Legnani, he found his perfect fit 1,409 miles away.
Legnani is a senior speech communications: radio/TV major from Berlin, Conn. A relative from the region suggested he take a look at SMSU and, after driving half way across the country, he liked what he saw.
"I toured in the summer of 2009," he said. "It was summer, so it was pretty dead. I was able to talk with (then-speech communications professor Dr.) Jan Loft. She was the one who sold it for me. She told me this is what we have, this is what we can do, this is what we can't do, this is what we offer, this is what you'll have to do. It was the straight facts, there was no fluff."
Legnani is the student manager of KSSU Television, the campus station. Last month, he was elected one of two student governors to the 10-person National Broadcasting Society (NBS) national board of governors.
"I'm a student member, a liaison between the students members and the professional board members,"?he said. "I keep in contact with the chapter presidents from across the country - there are 67 - and connect with students about what they want at the national convention, and pass that on to the professional members of the board."
It's a prestigious position, and one Legnani takes seriously. He's been active the local NBS chapter, and is one of assistant professor of speech communication Mike McHugh's shining stars.
"From David's first semester, he stepped up and volunteered for as many TV and NBS projects as he could. He's proven to be one of the top students ever to go through our program. He's taken advantage of every learning opportunity we have provided for him with NBS and at KSSU radio and TV," McHugh said.
He interned last summer at WTIC-TV in Hartford, Conn., where he did a number of things, including writing news copy, selecting sound bites and calling and verifying information on news tips.
"The program at SMSU really prepared me for the internship," he said. "Here, it's hand-on, not just theory. On day one, Professor McHugh taught us how to work a camera. I asked if I could go down and get some more training, and the upperclassmen let me play with the equipment. At other universities, they don't have the quality of equipment we do here, and they don't let you get involved with productions and things until your junior year. Here, the upperclassmen help the underclassmen, there's a sense of community here."
He'll graduate in May and plans on returning to the East Coast.
"I'll be applying to WTIC, where I interned," he said. "I'll also apply to other places in New England."
He's learned about Minnesota Nice, though that took some getting used to, he chuckled.
"It was a big culture change when I got here," he said. "People here are a little different (than in the east). I'm direct in how I address people. Around here you have to have people warm up to you, you have to beat around the bush a little bit, not be as direct or aggressive. That's a total 180 from what I'm accustomed to. That doesn't make it wrong at all. It's a nice place to live, and SMSU is a great school. It's small enough to know everyone but big enough to have your own sense of identity."
He's learned a ot about the radio/TV industry since arriving on campus, and a lot about himself.
"You can't be afraid of being involved," he said. "People are afraid of being judged, you have to go out there and do what you have to do and not worry about what they may or may not think. It's never as bad as what we think it is."