St. John’s celebrates Italian culture

Today marks the last day of the Italian Heritage and Culture Celebration, a series of events held in honor of Italian Heritage Month.

The final events of the celebration, sponsored by the Italian Cultural Society, the Office of Student Life and other student groups and organizations, include a presentation of an award winning Italian film, “I Am Not Afraid,” in the Honors Commons at 4 p.m. and a Queens Borough Proclamation Ceremony in Marillac Hall Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

Another event held during the month-long commemoration was the San Gennaro Feast, a fair held on Oct. 23 on the Great Lawn where students were able to sample Italian cuisine.

“This event normally takes place in Manhattan but we wanted to bring a small scale of the celebration to campus,” said Natalie Maio, associate director of Leadership Development.

“This event is giving St. John’s a little piece of Italy.”

She added that with the success of last week’s feast, she hopes to continue holding the San Gennaro Feast on the Queens Campus in the future.

According to Maio, there were nearly 25 vendors at the fair selling funnel cakes, sausage and pepper heroes, zeppoles and other Italian food.

Josie Casamento, a student vendor at the event, said she liked the promotion the Italian culture has received from St. John’s.

“They teach Italian here and they have a campus in Italy as well, so it was about time the students see a little more of what Italy is about,” she said.

Other students said they enjoyed attending last week’s festivities.

“Everything had the Italian flag colors on them. Even the ice and the food was different but good,” senior Phobay Kutu-Akoi said.

Frank D’Introno, another student vendor, said he felt the feast was a good illustration of his culture.

“This fair definitely represents my heritage as it feels like I’m celebrating my culture here at school,” he said.

However, junior Frank Tisellano, president of the Italian Heritage Society, said he believes the Italian culture was not promoted enough on campus. This is a notion he believes will change with time.

“I think we are underrepresented as a culture on campus and so this fair is a start,” said the junior. “Everyone had a good time and they all obviously loved the food.”