Cinque Terre is a grouping of small seaside villages in Northern Italy in the Liguria region. In Italian, “Cinque Terre” means “Five Lands”.
These five lands/villages are called Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
On October 25, 2011 there was torrential rain and massive flooding that occurred in Cinque Terre. Monterosso and Vernazza, two of the five lands, were devastated by these floods. The streets became a trough of 13 feet of mud, rocks, cars, boats and other debris. All the streetlevel businesses were totally destroyed. Four people were swept away.
Video Clip of Mudslide
PICTURED: Boats and cars being swept away in the floods in Vernazza
Between the two villages there was over â‚Ź150 million in damages. Neither of the towns had flood insurance because mudslides had not occurred in the area since 1864. The Region of Liguria released funds of approximately â‚Ź5 million to Vernazza but the money has yet to be transferred to the local government and no one has been paid for their work since October 25th.
Video Clip of Mudslide
PICTURED: Locals trying to escape the floods in Monterosso
I was deeply saddened by this devastation. My parents have been bringing me to Cinque Terre since I was nine years old. I felt an instant connection with the area and have made friends with many locals over the years. I wanted to do something to help the towns, the people, and the territory of this place I had grown to love so much.
I decided to use my skills as a Graphic Design student to create a fundraiser. Students for Cinque Terre or S5T is a non-profit fundraiser for students to help raise awareness and funds for the villages in Cinque Terre that were devastated by mudslides & flooding on October 25, 2011. S5T strives to help rebuild & restore the Cinque Terre & preserve its territory for future generations.
Since the mudslide disaster on October 25th I had been trying to think of a way to get involved. Once I arrived in Florence for my semester abroad I realized how many students were curious about Cinque Terre. It got around quickly that I had visited the villages in the past and many students started asking about what happened there, if it was safe to visit, and if there was a way for them to get involved and help. I eventually came up with an idea to make buttons to sell for a donation. These buttons would be a simple and â€œtrendyâ€? way for students to show their support for Cinque Terreâ€™s recovery. I proposed this idea to Save Vernazza, the non-profit organization located in Vernazza. The buttons evolved into posters, stickers, t-shirts and a whole organization behind the idea of Students for Cinque Terre.
This is the design of the S5T buttons. The concept was to keep the identity simple and direct. The logo is the number five. The number five (or cinque) represents the five towns in the Cinque Terre. Promoters of this logo will be supporting the towns, their recovery, and their future.
Various design factors were manipulated during the design process such as: •Colors Schemes • Fonts • Poster layouts • Design Elements (IE: frame, flourish, stripes, texture, transparency, house pattern)
I worked with Save Vernazza and other students and designers to reach the final design for S5T.
These are the final design elements that were used to develop S5Tâ€™s identity and to create the merchandise.
This merchandise was sold at the 2012 Accademia Italiana Fashion Show and is currently for sale in Cinque Terre. I am developing an online website where the merchandise can be purchased and shipped all over the world. 100% of the proceeds goes toward Cinque Terreâ€™s recovery.
PICTURED: Left - S5T merchandise Top - Myself at the S5T table at the 2012 AI Fashion Show
I have been working with the women at Save Vernazza since the beginning of my semester abroad in Florence. Save Vernazza has helped me with funding for my merchandise and development of my designs. They also introduced me to many locals in Cinque Terre.
PICTURED: Michele Sherman, Ruth Manfredi & Michele Lilley of Save Vernazza
It is my hope that S5T will grow into a sustainable student support organization for Cinque Terre for years to come. We highly encourage students to get involved! Because S5T is a new organization there is a lot of room for growth. Fresh ideas and general support is greatly appreciated!
Students can get involved either at home or abroad to help continue the efforts of S5T. Involvement opportunities include but are not limited to: • Volunteering in Cinque Terre • Working with Save Vernazza • Further development of merchandise • Further development of student events and trips
Students who get involved during their semester abroad through Arcadia University will have the opportunity to receive a CLC (CoCurricular Learning Certificate) for their efforts.
Other than keeping up with the facebook page, updating merchandise designs, and general volunteering the next idea we had to sustain S5T is to get connected with Florence for Fun or a similar organization to see about the possibility of starting up an S5T trip. The S5T trip would be a weekend trip for international students to visit Cinque Terre. Students would spend half the weekend volunteering and helping around the villages and the other half of the weekend experiencing and learning about Cinque Terre’s traditions and culture. On these trips students could: • Meet and work with locals • Help rebuild the walls up in the trails • Paint and clean buildings • Visit vineyards and learn about limoncello, sciacchetra, & other local beverages • Take cooking classes to learn how to make traditional dishes from the area like pesto or seafood • Fish/boat to learn about fishing life on the coast • Swim
“The Co-Curricular Learning Certificate is a record of the student’s non-academic co-curricular and extra-curricular learning experiences. The CLC is a self-directed opportunity organized under a series of themes explained at orientation. Students spend a prescribed amount of hours engaged in activities that contribute to the completion of a reflective piece. The work is assessed by The College of Global Studies and the certificate is awarded to students meeting the criteria.” – Arcadia University
• While abroad I worked for about 14 weeks on S5T. (2/9/12-5/19/12) • I worked an average of 15 hours per week . • I interacted directly with local Italians in Cinque Terre and also with the Save Vernazza organization. • I got involved at my study abroad school by setting up an S5T display at the Accademia Italiana Fashion Show. • I was interviewed by The Florentine newspaper about S5T.
• I was interviewed by ABC news in Minnesota about S5T.
My permanence in Italy enabled me to interact with locals from Cinque Terre, meet and discuss ideas with Save Vernazza, volunteer at the Save Vernazza table, and plan the Fashion Show premier with Accademia Italiana. Because I was in Italy I was able to do these things face-to-face instead of over emails or Facebook. Being able to do this made the project seem much more real because I could witness the progress first hand and see the effects that S5T was having on Cinque Terre and its residents. Being in Italy made communication with all parties involved much easier and smoother. It is my hope that S5T will continue to grow and that I will start a life in Italy after I graduate from the University of Minnesota. This way I can more directly influence the growth of S5T in Cinque Terre.
This is a photo of myself and a friend during one of our visits to Cinque Terre during our semester abroad.
This picture was taken in Vernazza. We are looking at a photo display of the devastating affects of the mudslides.
During my semester abroad I visited Cinque Terre several times. After my semester in Florence ended I spent my final week in Italy there. Before this, all of the work for S5T was happening behind the scenes in Florence. I was nervous because it was going to be the first time that the locals were going to see S5T, my designs, and my efforts. I was worried that maybe S5T wouldn’t be welcomed and appreciated. That week my friend Megan and I worked every day at the Save Vernazza information/donation table. We wore the S5T shirts, sold our merchandise for donations and informed the tourists about the devastation that occurred in the towns.
Locals passed us often and word spread quickly about who we were and what we were doing there. Soon the locals were greeting us with smiles and “buongiorno!” every day. They offered their shops to us as places to rest, get water, and use the bathroom. They bought us snacks from the fresh market. By the end of the week everyone in town was wearing the S5T buttons. Locals frequently approached us to thank us for what we were doing for their town and their families.
Pictured here is the Consulate General of the United States Kyle Scott with volunteers from Save Vernazza, Rebuild Monterosso and Mayor Resasco of Vernazza sporting the S5T buttons!
Save Vernazza recently informed me that the Cinque Terre National Parks have agreed to take the S5T shirts in their stores and sell them 100% for the Onlus. I have also been in contact with friends from Cinque Terre and they have told me that many locals in Vernazza are now wearing the S5T shirts around town. The S5T merchandise has given the locals a way to show their pride for their towns and their faith for the future of their towns.
I also believe that S5T, along with all the other international donators and fundraisers, has revealed to Cinque Terre how cherished of a community it is world-wide. The towns of Cinque Terre are small and geographically cut off from the rest of Italy. This large scale type of destruction could have easily destroyed Vernazza and Monterosso as we know it. But with a lot of international support and faith, these towns have made tremendous progress in their recovery. In the words of Michele Lilley from Save Vernazza, â€œWe have moved mountains, literally, with the help of the world.â€? All of this help has proved how important Cinque Terre is to people from all over the world. I hope that our future plans for S5T continue to affect Cinque Terre in this positive way.
Starting Students for Cinque Terre has been one of the most enjoyable and enlightening experiences that I have ever had. Seeing the progress that Cinque Terre has made is inspirational. I feel like I have truly had a positive impact on the lives of people that I care about. The interactions that I had with the locals that final week are something that I will never forget. After having spent much time in Cinque Terre over the years and growing so in love with the villages it warmed my heart to be able to help in this time of need. Being young is a challenging time in oneâ€™s life. At a young age it is possible to feel very insignificant at times. A year ago I would have never thought I would have started something like S5T. This experience has made me actually realize that anything is possible if you just make it happen. With a little effort and perseverance, you can do anything. Starting S5T and being involved in Cinque Terreâ€™s recovery has given me independence and made me feel stronger and more capable than I have ever felt before.
S5T member, Megan Cline, and myself volunteering at the Save Vernazza table in May 2012.
To show your support visit the Students for Cinque Terre Facebook page and click “Like”. On this page we update the public on Cinque Terre’s ongoing recovery, advertise the merchandise, and post photos and ideas for the future of S5T. Anyone can represent Students for Cinque Terre by promoting the S5T merchandise. Doing so will spread awareness about the devastation in Cinque Terre and our cause at S5T. All merchandise is available for a donation at the S5T facebook page. Just message us your order and we will forward it to Save Vernazza who currently deals with purchasing and shipping.