By Aleksa Radenovic
Alexander Papa wears many hats including being the newly-elected Youngstown State University’s Student Government Association president and entrepreneur.
Papa said being extremely busy is normal for him and that being a full-time student, a member of multiple student organizations and owning a business isn’t an easy job.
“On the night of my junior prom, as my date was getting ready, I was in my prom suit laying the flooring for the kitchen in the shop,” Papa said.
Papa comes from a family of lawyers. Before his father decided to take the first steps into the legal world, he opened a small gelato business in 2000 called East Street Parlor, which was attached to his father’s office.
“It was a patio-garage kind of deal,” Papa said. “When he left for law school, he shut it down.”
Then came Papa Galeteria. What started as an idea to make extra pocket money turned into a very successful business in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Papa said gelato made perfect sense since his family is Italian and the business continues his father’s vision.
“I was a junior in high school and I thought, ‘It would be a cool idea to bring the business back and make extra money,’” Papa said.
Owning a business while being a full-time college student has taught Papa many things. These include thorough understanding of the inner workings of corporations, business operations, human resources and general management.
“The stuff I learned is what they teach in business schools, so I basically did it backward,” Papa said. “It gives me a huge bump on my resume.”
Papa Galeteria is relocating from Pennsylvania to Ohio. Papa said his team has already started setting up freezers at Penguin City, and gelato will be ready to serve May 6 — in time for spring graduation.
“I sold my shop in New Wilmington, [Pennsylvania], and we will have a new freezer at Penguin City,” Papa said.
Leadership has always been a big part of Papa’s life. That’s why he decided to run for president of the Student Government Association.
“Being a leader for me means being in the trenches with my peers and doing the work with them,” Papa said. “I’m a big believer in delegating my responsibilities as a leader.”
Papa started off in public relations for SGA, and soon after progressed to becoming a vice president of that committee. Papa said this position shaped him and taught him what it takes to become president one day.
“It’s equally important to promote the changes we are making for students, so they are aware of what we’re doing for them,” Papa said. “It’s one of those things that wasn’t utilized before, so this will be a new perspective.”
Papa is a soon-to-be graduate with a double major in history and political science. Beginning fall 2023, he’ll start his master’s of business administration studies and his position as SGA president.