The Whitewater City Council on Tuesday selected its newest member, a UW-Whitewater student who is filling the open seat left vacant after his brother’s graduation.

Matthew J. Schulgit will take over the District 2 seat formerly held by his older brother Jimmy, who recently graduated and plans to attend medical school.

After the council unanimously picked Schulgit, 20, of 329 N. Tratt St., No. 19, Whitewater, the city clerk swore him in and he sat with the council for the rest of the meeting and voted on agenda items.

Like his brother, he is studying Spanish and biology. Originally from Brookfield, he is about to start his junior year at UW-W.

Schulgit said he’s “fairly fluent” in Spanish and has taught English as a second language classes. He emphasized speaking Spanish to those in Whitewater who use it as their primary language because it is respectful and “very important” in making everyone feel welcome in the city.

He said UW-W students sometimes feel unconnected to city residents. He wants to fix that.

Schulgit also became an owner with the Whitewater Grocery Co., a co-op residents are trying to start to give the city a grocery alternative to Walmart.

Schulgit has local government experience through his involvement with the Whitewater Community Involvement & Cable TV Commission and the Whitewater Board of Zoning Appeals.

Those have given him the opportunity to work with city officials, hear opinions from residents and learn about zoning regulations.

“It really helped me immerse myself in Whitewater,” he told The Gazette, “and see myself really as a member of the community.”

He wants UW-W students to be more aware of the opportunities to participate in local government.

“Everybody can have an input,” he said.

Council members also praised the other candidate for the opening: Zach Klotz, 21. Part of what edged Schulgit ahead of Klotz, council members said, was his previous experience on city organizations.

Klotz is a junior studying political science and legal studies. One of his priorities is making sure housing is affordable—not just for students but for those who want to bring their families to the city.

Schulgit will complete the current term, which runs until April 21, 2020.

The District 2 seat will be up for election April 7, 2020. Schulgit indicated in his application that he plans to run for the seat.