“Ce l’abbiamo fatta!!!” The enthusiastic Italian saying, which translates to “We did it!!!”, was the subject of Italian Studies student Alessandro Sano’s email to Dr. Chiara Mazzucchelli, the director of the Italian Studies program at UCF. The content of the email? Sano’s acceptance letter to the NIAF on Campus Fellowship program.
The competitive program, which was created by the National Italian American Foundation, offers 15 Italian American college students an all-expense paid trip to the NIAF Gala in Washington, D.C. Additionally, the NIAF will provide financial support to the Italian programs at the students’ respective universities. UCF’s Italian program offers a minor in Italian Studies and supports the activities of its student-led club, La Società Italiana. That’s definitely worth some exclamation points.
For Sano, who has been a member of the Italian Club since his freshman year and was recently elected its president, the club has made him feel at home at UCF. “By being part of the Italian Club, I’ve been able to meet other students who share my passion for Italian culture,” said Sano.
Mazzucchelli says the Italian Club at UCF “promotes the appreciation of all things Italian” through its organization of unique events. These include free Italian movie nights, food nights, field trips and even bocce tournaments. The club is open to all students, regardless of language ability.
While the club creates opportunities for Italian American students like Sano to mingle, it also encourages diversity. “We want to motivate not just Italian American students but students from different cultures to learn about the Italian language and traditions,” said Sano.
Looking Ahead for Italian Club
At the NIAF gala, Sano will be working with peers who are also active in Italian clubs at their universities. The goal of bringing these Italian student-leaders together is to create a unified strategy for the success of their clubs.
“I’m excited to interact with some of the most successful individuals in the Italian American community,” said Sano. “We’ll be sharing ideas on how to promote Italian American culture at our universities. As an ambassador for the Italian community at UCF, creating innovative strategies to get more students involved is one of my biggest goals.
Are you an Italian American student? Take it from Sano: it’s never too early to get involved on campus. “College is a chance to branch out and meet new people, emerge as a leader, and gain valuable skills that you can take with you throughout life,” said Sano. And through it all, Sano always takes pride in his Italian heritage. “Representing UCF at this prestigious national event shows what Italian American Knights are capable of!”
Join the Italian Club’s Facebook group to get notified about upcoming events: facebook.com/groups/ItalianClubUCF