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FEATURE GREEK LIFE:
"Star Serenades Senior of the Year"
Ramesh C. Reddy
Editors Note: Hi my name is Ramesh Reddy. I am with the Pittsburgh Standard and I am interviewing Liz Blasi on her experiences here at Pitt.
When you walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you expect to see the names of celebrity stars immortalized as their names are engraved on a star for every pedestrian walking by to look at. They are honored for making Hollywood great and special by those bestowing the honor. It is exciting for anyone to see their name engraved on a star.
As a University of Pittsburgh student, you need not go to Hollywood to see a celebrity star immortalized. We have one right here at Pitt who has received her own celebrity star with her name engraved on it. Her name is Elizabeth Marie Blasi!
Blasi has been recognized as Senior of the Year by Omricon Kappa Delta for her academic excellence and accolades outside of academics. With this honor her name will be forever engraved on a star near the pathway leading from Heinz Chapel to the Cathedral of Learning.
Blasi shared her greatest achievement while being at Pitt.
“My greatest achievement would probably be last year winning the Omricon Kappa Delta Senior of the Year Award! It was just all encompassing! It was kind of a little reward for working so hard. I never did anything to get an award. I just did stuff because I was interested in it. I never joined organizations to get a title or anything like that so I think they saw that. I [joined] the organizations and did my best in them. It was just a great experience and something nice! Twenty years down the road, I can bring my kids and show them the stone behind the Cathedral. It is pretty cool!” said Blasi.
Many people believed that Blasi deserved the award and got references from the likes of Abdou Cole, the General Manager of Food Services for Schenley Café, Cathedral Café, and Einsteins for Sodexho. Cole was not the only one she got references from.
Blasi shared why Cole was excited to fill out her reference.
“Abdou and I just established a friendship and it’s grown. He is amazing and has been with the university so many times and cares for the students. I really admire him and his work! I had Abdou be a reference for me because he had worked with me so closely and I feel he saw how much I cared for the students and cared for issues on campus”, said Blasi.
Blasi has been instrumental in starting the Food Service Committee of SGB which has been phenomenal in bringing many changes in food services to the student body as she and the committee worked with the management team of Sodexho.
Blasi has been very excited about the changes.
“I would say honestly working with the people! When I started, I worked predominantly with you, Abdou, and Marty but as it has grown, Barb, Jodi and Jim Earle started coming to our meetings and Dan. It’s just the whole management team stepping in, and Steven from Eddies. The whole management team has stepped in and made a difference and that’s why it has gotten so much better this year. We have the management team listening to all the issues and ideas of the students so things are getting done. The communication does not have to go from one person to seven different persons. They are all there to hear it first hand and just knowing things are getting done and whenever you go and hear students excited about the Smoothie Block or the Salad Bar or different options and changes that are happening, it is encouraging!” said Blasi.
Whether it is food service committee meetings, being a SGB board member, a Pathfinder, a Chi Omega Sorority sister and president, she likes to keep herself busy and get things done by leading by example. She is so fond of her sorority.
“I joined Chi Omega in my sophomore year and it has been such a great support for me, great girls, great friends; we are really well rounded so we do a lot of everything. I have always been very interested and focused on community service and that’s what I started with there and then when I became president, I tried to lead my house into a great direction and hopefully when I am graduating they will still; I know they will continue to be great”, said Blasi.
Blasi’s interest in community service paid off in the life of a little child named Sarah who was part of 'Make A Wish Foundation'. While the community chair of Chi Omega, she had the privilege and opportunity to have her sorority raise $3400 so Sarah and her family could go to Disney World to fulfill Sarah’s wish.
Blasi has seen many exciting things happen in her sorority as she has been there. Her sorority has won Homecoming Queen 3-years in a row to have the title ‘3-peat’ given to them, has had a board member from Chi Omega on board, has seen them win the Greek Sing contest, and seen Food Committee being saturated by Chi Omega sisters who have wanted to make a difference for the student body.
Blasi is confident when she leaves Chi Omega and food services, they will be in good hands.
Regarding Chi Omega, Blasi said, “Oh man, I have talked to her [Mistica] a bunch! I would say to lead by example! Basically that is all! She is an amazing girl and is going to do an amazing job! It can be overwhelming but she loves the house and is going to do a great job so nothing is going to get in her way.”
Regarding Food Services, Blasi said, “I have never been a combative person. I have never been able to walk into a room and be like this is what, change this blah blah blah and have an attitude. When the issue with food services came up two years ago, the fall semester when I first got on board, it became very prevalent…... I think you have to give people respect if you want to receive respect. That’s how I lead, that’s how I always try to lead by example that way. So, if you want to get things done, you have to be able to compromise and also show other people respect if you want to see results. She [Alli] has done such a great job already being there and setting up that one day at Eddies and everything like that! Just making sure it continues! Maybe trying to branch out a little more!"
Blasi has made an impact as a board member on SGB. One of the things she is excited about was the success of 'Light Up Night' at Pitt these past two years.
"I think Joyce Giangarlo has been a main force behind that. She is my Student Government Board Advisor and absolutely amazing women! She has really made a difference in my life and impacted my life. We think the same way! We like artistic stuff, performances, and we love the holidays. We were just talking one day and what should I do when I first got on board the first year. We were talking how great it would be to have a Light Up Night and holiday celebration. As a university we have never had it! By incorporating all the different multi-cultural groups on campus we wanted to make it happen. Last year was great! This year it was more spread out and ever greater, it was fabulous. Lot of students came, groups performed, [and there was] philanthropy stuff. I could not have done it without Joyce and that’s for sure. Then I had Donna Mihalik, our assistant help here at the SGB office! She is an amazing woman and I worked with her a lot. She helped me out a lot as well with Joyce with Light Up Night!
As the SGB chapter of her life has come to an end, she reflected on her experiences at SGB and with Brian Kelly, the outgoing president of SGB who will be passing the torch to current board member and president elect-Joe Pasqualichio.
"It has been an interesting two years! It started out great! We have had a couple of up and downs, we have had silly little drama; I don’t like drama and try to stay out of it but I think we have gotten a lot of things done. I have made great friends just in there and people have done a very great job. There are people in there that are so passionate about what they do that it is contagious! Brian and I, the way we first met was through Pathfinders! We were actually tour partners and then he asked me to run on his campaign with him. We had a great time establishing an even better friendship. He is a great leader; he knows how to delegate his work and if people are out of line, he will put you in your place but we have had a good time and he’s done a very good job."
Blasi had words of wisdom for the incoming SGB president Pasqualichio who will take over the reigns from Kelly to lead the board.
"I think communication within the students [should be the priority] and I think it is important for the board if they said they were going to deal with something, I think it is important to deal with it because students remember that if you run on a certain topic and campaign and you don’t fulfill that, they will remember! Get stuff done! As long as you try, if you fail that’s fine but as long as you can say, you tried! It is sad when you have people who say all this stuff and nothing gets done but I think some people just have [become] lucky with what they pick. I think to just make sure that the board accomplishes their goals. I know Joe Pasqualichio, the new [SGB] president, Abdou asked him about his vision, is going to try to use his position as president to make it [Food Service] better", said Blasi.
Blasi dreams of going into broadcasting when she graduates and hopes to land a job soon as a reporter. As the years go by she hopes to get married and have a bunch of little kids. She shared how she met Joe Pasqualichio when they were running for SGB with current president Brian Kelly two years ago. Before then she did not know who Pasqualichio was. Now they are best friends, boy and girl friend, and one day could be husband-wife.
Blasi is excited to go home for Christmas.
“I am the one always my dad says, of all the ones in the family, I am the one that loves Christmas the most. I love the season, I love decorating, just love the music, baking cookies and everything like that so when we get a tree, it is my designated job to put the lights. The best way to do the lights is to, I don’t know if you know, put the lights inside first and work your way out. I am kind of a lights connoisseur. It kind of gives a 3-D effect to it. That’s our job and we all decorate it because we have so many ornaments. I have five siblings total. There are seven of us in the family and two dogs now. Celebrate it with my aunt and uncles and my grandma!” said Blasi.
Blasi wants students to enjoy their stay at the University of Pittsburgh and not let failure get them down.
“I think, my whole thing used to be that I would beat myself up if I did bad on a test, if I did bad on blah blah blah! Now you have to be like ‘gotta get over it.’ As long as you try and as long as you did your best, that’s what my mom always told me because I would get upset when I was in eight grade about not getting an A and that’s silly, because as long as you study and do your best, I am satisfied with that now. That’s perfect! I have just had an amazing four years! I am definitely not the person that walked in to the University of Pittsburgh 4 ½ years ago! I changed tremendously and I think in a good way! Good luck to everybody and have fun! Time flies! I am done with this chapter and am really getting ready for the next one so I am excited! Good luck to everybody and keep up the good work”, said Blasi.
For complete exclusive interview, check out "Senior of the Year Award Recipient Reminisces Regarding Rewards, Responsibilities, and Review of Four Years!"