Ben Colletti has a long list of things he’d like to do at Illinois State.

Play on the men’s club volleyball team. Double major in athletic training and math education. Be part of Red Alert. Join a youth ministry student group. And that’s just the start.

What’s his No. 1 priority for freshman year? Make friends.

“Everything I’ve seen at Illinois State has made me want to go here. Now I need to be the one to make myself want to stay,” said Colletti, who began his freshman year at Illinois State this month. “By next May, I hope I’ve made friendships that will last for years, long after we graduate.”

Colletti grew up in Willowbrook in Chicago’s southwest suburbs but attended De La Salle Institute in the city, where his father is an administrator. Aware of the importance of being well-rounded, Colletti played volleyball all four years and was active in the National Honor Society and peer ministry, among other groups.

He was accepted at all five colleges he applied, including Illinois State.

“When I visited Illinois State and got out of the car, I said, ‘Wow, this is where I want to be,’” he recalled. “I was looking at Milner, and the Bone. Then when I stepped onto the Quad, it was just perfect.”

The Redbird Academic Scholarship he earned helped seal the deal. His summer experience at Preview orientation only added to his excitement about the start of the fall semester.

“It really struck me at Preview that I’m going to have all these opportunities at Illinois State, and I’m going to have all these people at ISU who are going to be able to support me in every way,” he said.

Colletti’s passion is sports, so he’s already a big Redbird fan (and regularly wearing his official Red Alert T-shirt). With his plans to double major, Colletti hopes to become a high school math teacher who’s also trained to be the school’s athletic trainer. He can help student-athletes and stay involved in sports.

“Seems like a perfect way to do both,” Colletti said.

Colletti is one of five new Redbirds featured this week on STATEside. Meet our other freshmen:

Apply now for spring or fall 2016, or set up a visit to our campus.

Ryan Denham can be reached at