Last month the College’s undergraduate Italian club and the Italian Department hosted more than 40 students and professors of Italian, along with representatives of the Italian Consulate in Philadelphia, at a regional meeting of the Amici della Cultura Italiana, a network of student groups sponsored by the Coccia Foundation—an association dedicated to the active preservation of Italian culture and studies in the United States with lectures, seminars, music, cultural events, and scholarships for majors and/or minors of Italian.
At the meeting, the foundation recognized Associate Professor and Chair of Italian Roberta Ricci, Professor Emeritus of Italian Nicholas Patruno, and Italianiste club president Vicky Lopez ’13 with certificates of appreciation for their contributions to the promotion and preservation of Italian culture.
At the November meeting, students from Italian clubs at Bryn Mawr, the College of New Jersey, Saint Joseph’s University, Temple University, the University of Delaware, Wesley College, and Villanova University gave presentations about their activities, curriculum, and programs of Italian in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Presenting on behalf of Bryn Mawr students were majors and minors of Italian: Lopez, Gillian Diffenderfer, Allegra Flechter, Zoe Guastella, Josephine Nyame, and Maya Zhang.
Featured speakers included Patruno and Paola Ebranati, the director of the Italian Consulate’s educational office. According to Ricci, Bryn Mawr is working with the consulate on the possibility of establishing an internship program for majors and minors of Italian who have returned from study in Italy after the junior semester or summer program.
Ricci says: “This would be an exciting opportunity to strengthen the program of a language—Italian—that continues to be one of the few registering growth. The number of students in the Italian in the United States has increased in the past five years and is expected to continue to grow, according to the recent statistics provided by American academic organizations including the Modern Language Association, the American Association of Teachers of Italian, and the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages.”
The Bryn Mawr Italian club, Le Italianiste di Bryn Mawr, is in its second year of membership in the Foundation’s Amici group and is planning to move forward to enhance language learning in collaboration with their faculty advisor.
The Coccia foundation offers funding for study abroad in Italy, special scholarships for the study of Italian language and culture, field trips and events celebrating Italian culture, and funding for extracurricular activities for Amici member organizations.
“Belonging to the Amici allows us to expand the opportunities available to our students by establishing relationships with other departments of Italian and Italian studies around the region,” says Ricci. “It helps gives students a sense of belonging to a community of people who are interested in Italian culture, to nurture their curiosity and deepen their knowledge about Italy. The Italian Department at BMC takes pride in the fact that those students who have elected to continue with graduate work in Italian have been admitted to the most prestigious graduate programs in the country. Many of these students were given full-tuition fellowships and teaching assistantships. BMC students of Italian have also been recipients of prestigious literary awards (e.g., American Association of Teachers of Italian) for their essays written in the upper-level literature courses.”