Answering, "Voting for neither candidate of a major political party is going to bring us closer to God."
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Deja Vu for the Steelers
FEATURE GREEK LIFE:
"Senior of the Year Award Recipient Reminisces Regarding Rewards, Responsibilities, and Review of Four Years!"
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.
AS YOU LOOK BACK:
RR: As you look back at your years at the University of Pittsburgh, what organizations have you been part of?
LB: Letís see! As I started here, my freshman year, I spent a great deal of time with the Pitt theater department with the university repertory theater. In my sophomore year, I became very involved in Chi Omega Sorority, the Greek Life here and also Pitt Pathfinders. It was in my junior year that I spread out and then became more involved in Student Government Board and am in Omricon Kappa Delta and couple of other honor societies.
RR: Great Liz! Best experience at Pitt, what would it be for you?
LB: Thatís very honestly a tough one (laughing. I thought about that several times and I really canít, there have been so many good things that I have done or experienced here! Probably the best accomplishment, is that what you mean, is that what you mean?
RR: Whatever your experience?
LB: I donít know! Being on SGB kind of made me become a better leader; it made me experience confidence, gain confidence and just be able to do other things but also my sorority is something that is so dear to my heart. I think that also made me into a better person.
CHI OMEGA SORORITY:
RR: Great! Chi Omega is the sorority you have been part of. What has been special about being part of Chi Omega?
LB: I joined that 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 thatís 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.
DURING PITT YEARS BEST ACHIEVEMENT:
RR: Great to hear! During your years at Pitt what has been your greatest achievement?
LB: OK! 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 did the organizations and did my best in them. I donít know it was just a great experience and something nice 20 years down the road I can bring my kids and show them the stone behind the Cathedral. It is pretty cool!
RR: Good to hear that! Every time certain students had issues with food services, they would run campaigns to destroy Sodexho but you handled it differently, why?
LB: 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. It was not this past Fall but the Fall before and there were couple kids that I knew that wanted to go in, be angry and whatever we talked to Marty and Abdou the first time kind of have an edge to them. Thatís never how I have approached things. I think you have to give people respect if you want to receive respect. Thatís how I lead, thatís 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.
RR: Food Service Committee was started by you and has grown since! What has been the best part of your experience there?
LB: 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. Itís just the whole management team stepping in, and Steven from Eddies. The whole management team has stepped in and made a difference and thatís 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!
GOING INTO THE REAL WORLD:
RR: Wonderful! Going into the real world, what do you hope to do?
LB: When I graduate I hope to actually get into broadcasting and become a reporter. I interned with KDKA downtown over the summer and had the most amazing experience. I think that is what I am meant to do! I hope it works out hopefully someday!
HOW DO YOU KNOW ABDOU COLE?
RR: I hope it works out! How did you get to know Abdou Cole, the General Manager of Schenley Cafť, Cathedral Cafť, and Einsteinís?
LB: It was actually funny! Yesterday at the end of our meeting, I was walking out with Abdou and you were right there and I looked over and saw the meeting room that we had our first meeting. It was myself and couple of board members and at that time! We met with Abdou and Marty! Were you there, I am trying to remember? I donít know if you were there at the initial meeting and thatís when I met him. I had a different outlook going into that meeting than other people. Abdou and I just established a friendship and itís 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!
IN THE FUTURE:
RR: If you were to make a prediction about your life, where do you see yourself five years from now?
LB: (pause, thinking)
RR: Where do you hope to be?
LB: It sounds clique but hope to have a job and I would hope by the time when I am 27 hopefully to be settling down, getting married and things like that. Thatís honestly been a main goal in my life, settling down and having children. I was brought up in a family of five kids and see myself having a bunch of little kids, hopefully yeah thatís going to happen someday! (laughing)
RR: Yeah speaking about that, Joe Pasqualichio is your boyfriend (Liz laughing) and also has been your running mate for SGB: Student Government Board! How did you guys meet?
LB: I met Joe when Brian Kelly had decided for us both to run with him. I had not known him previously so yeah!
KEEPING WITH TRADITION:
RR: Keeping with tradition, what do you think should happen for a Chi Omega sister (Liz laughing) to become Homecoming Queen four years in a row?
LB: You know what, if it is going to happen maybe there is a good chance, we will see! I donít know! We have had a good house support system so I know the past couple of years we have really been there helping Soo Mi, Lindsey, and Peanut with flyers and just getting the word out so I am sure it will continue next year so maybe that is a great possibility.
LIGHT UP NIGHT:
RR: Light Up Night has been your idea! What made you want to have it at Pitt? It has been so successful two years in a row.
LB: 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 thatís for sure.
MISTICA AS PRESIDENT:
RR: Great! Mistica is going to take over the reigns of being president of Chi Omega! What advice do you have for her?
LB: Oh man, I have talked to her 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.
NOW WHAT CHURCH:
RR: Good! Now that you are graduating, what church do you plan to go at home?
LB: When I am home, I go to St. Bernardís which is a Catholic Church right on Washington Road.
OMRICON KAPPA DELTA AWARD:
RR: Great! Omricon Kappa Delta hands out its ĎSenior of the Yearí Award! How did you become Senior of the Year and what went into the process?
LB: It was last January that I believe the applications went out. You did not have to be a ODK to apply! You just had to be a senior at the time that you were going to graduate either in April, summer, or December. I qualified because I am graduating in December. You just wrote an essay and your resume and everything like that. They then called you in for an interview. There were about eight of us that got to that level for interviews and both Tyler and myself were awarded with it.
RR: Great! Did you have to have references handed out?
RR: Who did your references and why did you choose that person?
LB: I am trying to remember! I know 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. 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! I canít remember my other source right now!
PEOPLE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS:
RR: Great! People celebrate Christmas in different ways! How does your family celebrate Christmas?
LB: Oh man! Hopefully we will be getting a tree soon because I only live ten minutes away and am going to go home. 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 donít 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. Thatís 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!
QUICKLY SGB PERCEPTION:
RR: Quickly tell me when you hear the word SGB what comes to mind?
LB: I just think this office! I donít know, just the people I dealt with! 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 donít 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!
RR: Great! Tell me how it was working under Brian Kelly as president being on board for two years.
LB: 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 heís done a very good job.
REIGN OF ALLI WINN:
RR: Great! Reign of food service committee goes to Alli Winn! What advice do you give her?
LB: To have it every month! She 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! 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 better.
RR: Students fail in different things! Tell us a time when you failed to accomplish a goal because you could not convince the other members of the board to adapt your ideas.
LB: Oh my goodness! I am trying to think about an example! There was funding! I canít think about an example! It was about a month and a half ago! There was an organization that came and they were such a great organization. I know that they needed funding to go to a conference and we normally fund for conferences but I think because some of the board members thought it was more or less a job fair but it was not because they had conferences, they had meetings and everything like that. I mean there was a little aspect of marketing but thatís why they were going to learn and pass the information down [such as] these are the classes you need to take and do to succeed at this business. So, I was really passionate about them getting the money but it did not happen because they thought it was more of a job fair and student activity fee does not fund for that.
RR: Liz, how do you handle failure and what would you tell the student body how to handle failure?
LB: 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 Ďgotta get over it.í As long as you try and as long as you did your best, thatís what my mom always told me because I would get upset when I was in eight grade about not getting an A and thatís silly, because as long as you study and do your best, I am satisfied with that now. Thatís perfect!
TELL US ABOUT THE CANDY CANE:
RR: Great! Tell us why do you think the original candy cane was made with red and white stripes and is in the shape of a cane? You can be as creative as you want!
LB: Is there an answer to it?
RR: Yes, but students give their own creative answer.
LB: When I was little I would always think candy canes were to be used as a pipe! I donít know! Because my Grandpa, I donít know, I really have no idea! I canít be creative right now. I donít know, to freshen your breath?
UNDER JOE PASQUALICHIOíS PRESIDENCY:
RR: Ok! Under Joe Pasqualichioís presidency what do you think should be the priority for the sake of the students?
LB: I think communication within the students 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 donít fulfill that, they will remember and to get stuff done! As long as you try, if you fail thatís 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.
VICTORY UNDER DRIVEN SLATE:
RR: Victory under DRIVEN slate has been three years in a row! What do you attribute the success of the DRIVEN slate?
LB: I donít know! Maybe it is catchy! People remember it! I donít know! I think when Brian, Joe, and I, I remember we were thinking trying to remember a name and at first we thought that [DRIVEN NAME] would be silly because we just thought of it! Because we were three driven individuals to do stuff! I donít know maybe it will continue! We will see!
WHAT WOULD BE EXCITING CHI OMEGA EXPERIENCE:
RR: What would your most exciting Chi Omega experience be?
LB: Two years ago when I was community service chair, we were able to raise over $3400 dollars and we were able to grant a wish to a little girl named Sarah, a Make A Wish Child, to go to Disney world with her family! She has leukemia! One of the directors of ĎMake a Wishí came and presented us with a certificate and met with the girl. It was really nice and touching we were able to make that much of a difference!
XTRA WORK AND SCHOOL:
RR: Xtra work takes your time! When Campus Crusade for Christ was looking for funding and you were called, you responded back right away! How do you balance your time with everything, calling people back when they ask for something, all the organizations you are part of, and do well in classes?
LB: I love to be busy! I rarely, I have never been a person to sit and watch TV! I donít know! I just like to be doing things. If I am not doing school work, I am probably out doing something else. I think it is responsible to email people back and get things done as soon as possible otherwise if you donít you are going to have a pile this long, this big to get done if you donít do it in an efficient manner. It is all about time management and I have been like that since high school and junior high.
YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH OAKLAND ZOO:
RR: Zoo, the Oakland Zoo, what has been your favorite time regarding the Oakland Zoo?
LB: Oh, the Oakland Zoo? I have never honestly had tickets to go to the game! But I see them on TV and everything like that!
ZEALOUS PITT PRIDE!:
RR: Zealous Pitt Pride you have, so tell us your closing remarks to the student body before we close the interview!
LB: I have just had an amazing four years! I am definitely not the person that walked in to the University of Pittsburgh 4 Ĺ 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!
RR: Thank you so much Liz!