Whether through indulging on the delicious food, dancing to traditional tunes or visiting the famous sites while studying in Austria, just about everyone has had a taste of Italian culture. This realization was part of what inspired freshman Maria Lencki to create an Italian Club at Franciscan University.
“The Italian culture is so beautiful,” said Lencki, a communication arts and political science major.
“I kind of started the club on a whim,” she said. Growing up, Lencki was very influenced by the culture herself. “My mom was born in Italy, so it has influenced my life so much because my Italian family means the world to me,” she said. “I have so many memories of going to (my grandma’s) house in the summer growing up and staying with her. … We would go to Italian Mass together, and we would cook Italian food together.”
“I thought that they (Franciscan) had an Italian Club,” said Lencki. After inquiring about it at the Student Life Office and finding out that the club once existed but no longer did, she was told that she could revive it herself. Lencki eagerly agreed.
“The goal of the club is just to get people involved in the culture,” said Lencki. “They don’t have to be Italian to be in the Italian club; it’s just for fun.”
Most Italian Club meetings will involve language lessons, Italian rosary or cooking, and the group already had their first language lesson on March 3. “It went so well. I’m so happy about that,” said Lencki, adding that there was a “pretty good turnout.”
“Every language lesson is different because it builds off of each other,” she said. “So the first language lesson, we just worked on conversational Italian, like introducing yourself, talking about where you’re from and stuff like that, and then we went over pronunciation…”
“The next lessons, we’ll start going into verb conjugations,” said Lencki.
Lencki anticipates an exciting future for the Italian Club. The group has ideas for many large events, including a gelato social, Italian Mass and international dance. In addition, its Facebook page posts polls asking students for ideas so that the club can be responsive to the wishes of the campus community.
Robert Palladino, director of chapel ministries, serves as the club’s advisor. The Italian Club has two vice presidents, freshmen Amedeo and Edoardo Da Pra Galanti, who both grew up in Italy. Freshman Claudio Ferrari serves as the club’s treasurer.
Lencki described the formation of the club as a lengthy but worthwhile venture. While the idea was born in November of last semester, it was not until January of this year that the team had been assembled and worked on getting the club approved.
“I’m extremely blessed and very grateful for my advisor, vice president and treasurer, and I couldn’t do this club without them,” said Lencki.
Lencki is excited for the Italian Club to contribute to campus life. “I think it’ll enrich the community because a lot of people are Italian, and if they’re not Italian, a lot of people have been to Austria and they’ve visited Italy,” she said. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful culture; the food is amazing, you can learn how to cook and Italian people are wonderful. We love family, and we’re very family oriented.”
The next Italian Club language lessons will be on April 7 and April 21.