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The American University of Rome Alumni & Friends Magazine

***The image on the cover of this issue is the winner of the Photo Contest organized by AUR’s Media Club. Photo by current student Flavia Di Placido (Film & Digital Media) Born and raised in Rome, Flavia has had the opportunity to travel around the world and study several languages. Travelling being at the top of her list of passions, she also loves books, art and food.





MEET THE BOARD: Stephen A. Briganti


MEET THE FACULTY: Andrea di Robilant


MEET AN ALUMNA: Lauren Jolliffe, ‘01


Class Notes


Class Notes with a Twist!


MEET AN MA ALUMNA: Bethany Eigenfeld


There’s no place like home...


Spring Eateries in Rome


The AUR Times


AUR Love Stories


Upcoming Events


AUR Quiz


AUR Gives Back


Giving Back to AUR


Funny pick-up lines

Spring is here and in keeping with the season, many exciting things are blossoming at AUR. Slowly, but surely, the AUR community is growing and expanding. With it, anticipation, hard work and satisfaction have been part of our daily life atop the Gianicolo. As you will see, even Wolftracks is growing. Once a twoperson endeavor, it is with great pleasure that I present you with this issue, where you can see a bigger and diversified Wolftracks TEAM! So, in this Editors Note, I’d like to thank those members of the AUR community who contribute to this publication. Wolftracks is one of my favorite aspects as Alumni and Development Coordinator, and seeing it flourish makes my stomach flutter. So dear readers, please join me in thanking the Team, for if you now look forward to reading us, it is thanks to the hard work of these wonderful people that this magazine is possible. That said, enjoy this issue. It’s spring! And like Joan Jett wisely put it… “Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let’s do it… let’s fall in love!” (I like Jett’s version better than Cole Porter’s.) Laura Estrada Prada - Alumni & Development Coordinator Art History, ‘16

WOLFTRACKS TEAM Laura Estrada Prada Harry Greiner

Editor and contributor Co-editor

Amy Baldonieri Katherine Bemis Faith Carrie Coolidge Kathleen Fitzsimmons Maurizia Garzia Ellie Johnson Susan Kaesz Carla Valentine Yesenia Serna

Contributor and copy editor Contributor and copy editor Contributor Contributor Contributor Contributor and copy editor Contributor Contributor and copy editor Contributor


STEPHEN A. BRIGANTI Stephen A. Briganti is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. Briganti has led the magnificent growth, organization and funding of the Ellis Island Foundation and the Ellis Island Museum. He has decades of experience in fundraising, higher education, and culture. Born in New York City, Briganti was raised in Indiana. He graduated from Butler University with a degree in History and Political Science and in 1991 was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Law from the University. In 1982 he attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Executive Training Program. Before joining the Foundation, Briganti worked as an executive for United Way for more than a decade. In 1981, he oversaw the most successful single annual United Way campaign in the nation.


“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


ou have an Italian surname. Can you tell us about your

Italian origins? Yes, my mother and her family came from Naples and my father’s parents came from Grassano in Basilicata. My grandfather

Emma Lazarus, words engraved on the Statue of Liberty

Briganti came in 1899. What is your link with Italy today?

Can you tell us about the new Statue of Liberty Museum you are I am close to my second cousins on both sides of my family.

helping to build?

They live in Rome and I discovered my mother’s side about 12 Yes, it will be a great museum on Liberty Island. Because of

years ago. I knew the Briganti side.

security most of the 4.4 million visitors annually cannot get into the Statue. When we did the Statue’s restoration, we built

How did you end up at Ellis Island? By chance or by choice?

a museum in the Statue and now we are moving the artifacts and I was hired by Lee Iacocca to start up the Statue of Liberty-Ellis

the original torch to the new museum, enlarging the story in a

Island Foundation. We restored both monuments and built

building that will not have the strict security that the Statue has.

museums in them. Our first task was the Statue of Liberty’s

It is a $100 million project and will have a grand opening in 2019.

restoration in the 1980s and then we went on to restore Ellis Island

One of our biggest tasks was to build a grand building but not

and build the National Museum of Immigration there. We have

have it compete with the Statue itself. I think we have done that.

also computerized the records of arrival through the Port of New York from 1892 to 1957 and will soon have them back to 1820.

How did you become an AUR Trustee? I was invited to join by President Hodges and I thought it would

What do Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty represent for

be a very interesting experience. I had chaired my university’s

Americans today?

board and served on it for 18 years so I enjoy the connection And for Italian-Americans? The monuments mean the same

with the academy.

for all Americans including Italian-Americans. The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of America and a symbol of liberty for

Where do you see AUR 10 years from now?

many people around the world. Ellis Island is the symbol of a I joined the AUR Board recently, so I think it is too soon for me

new life, a second chance, and new opportunity. It is particularly

to make a projection, but I am impressed with the Board, its

important to Italian-Americans, most of whom can trace their

interest and its vision for the future.

roots through the history recorded in Ellis Island.

By Maurizia Garzia

Statue of Liberty Museum, new construction, Liberty Island, February 2018

Ellis Island museum entrance





ndrea di Robilant was born in Rome in 1957, the son of Alvise di Robilant, an Italian of Piedmontese and Venetian ancestry,

and Elizabeth Stokes, an American from Lynchburg, Virginia. He was raised in Rome with two younger brothers during the twilight years of the Dolce Vita. After struggling at the French LycÊe in Rome, he was sent to boarding school in Switzerland, got down to studying and obtained his French Baccalaureat degree. In 1975 he travelled to Iran and took a job teaching English at the university in Tehran; with his savings, he set off on the well-worn hippy trail across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and South East Asia. In 1977 he headed for New York City and enrolled at Columbia University. He earned a B.A. degree in History and a master’s degree from the School of International Affairs. During his studies he worked as a free-lance journalist for Italian newspapers and magazines covering the Carter presidency and the Iran hostage crisis. In 1981 he was hired as a reporter for Il Progresso italo-americano, a daily Italian language paper based in New Jersey. A year later he joined La Repubblica. In 1984 he left La Repubblica and travelled over-land from New York to Buenos Aires reporting from Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil and Argentina for a number of publications. He was based in Buenos Aires for two years and covered the end of the military regimes in South America for The Dallas Morning News.


At the end of his Latin American stint he returned to Italy to

really be bothered - not my line of business. But then one day

start “02”, a monthly city magazine in Milan. The idea was to

I wandered into the fabulous Museum of Perfume in Venice. It

combine good writing with quality black and white photography,

was beautifully done and very interesting and so I asked who

letting loose on the city the large pool of talented young fashion

was behind it and was told that it was the Vidal family - Venetian

photographers. The magazine had a short but happy life (1987-

perfume makers for five generations. So it suddenly all clicked:

88) chronicling the seamier side of Milanese society, including

I had found the people that would help me make the perfume.

the rise of real-estate, advertising and television mogul and future

Fast forward: Now Rosa Moceniga is the best-selling fragrance of

prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. He shut down “02” before it

the Vidal line of perfumes, selling briskly from London to Dubai,

lost too much money and returned to daily journalism as a

Milan to Moscow.

reporter for La Stampa. Do you have any new publications in the pipeline - or other works/ In 1996 he returned to the United States as the paper’s bureau

enthusiasms that you’d like to share?

chief, based in Washington D.C. and covered Clinton’s second term in office. Following the election of George W. Bush, he took

My new book will be out in the US on June 5th. Autumn in

a year-long leave of absence and moved to Venice with his family

Venice: Ernest Hemingway and his Last Muse (Knopf, 2018) .

to write his first book, A Venetian Affair – the true story of an

It tells the story of Hemingway’s scandalous relationship with a

impossible love set in eighteenth century Venice. Published in

very young Venetian girl, Adriana Ivancich, a relationship that

2003, it was selected as a New York Times “notable book of the

lasted eight years and inspired him to finish his life’s work. It

year.” He went back to his job at La Stampa but was soon working

was the missing tassel in Hem’s bio: we had the Paris years, the

on a sequel. Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon, the

Florida years, the African years, the Cuban years. Now we have

biography of his great-great-great-great grandmother, Lucia

the Venetian years too.

Mocenigo, which was published in 2007. You’ve travelled extensively - what are the places that have really He left La Stampa for a full-time writing career. He now divides his time between Rome, where he lives with his family, and the island of Giudecca, in Venice, where he has a small house with a garden.

fascinated you and why? Most definitely Iran, where I traveled at the age of eighteen and ended up staying a year. Fascinating history, beautiful architecture, powerful landscapes. An ancient and rich culture

For this issue of Wolftracks, Harry Greiner caught up with Professor Di Robilant for a few searching questions:

set apart from the West and the Arab world. A universe entirely its own. No shamness, no bullshit, no mass tourism. Plus, I really liked the food.

How long have you worked with AUR? Is there any aspect of AUR as an institution that you find sets it apart from other places?

With the current debates around ‘Fake News’ and online data manipulation do you see the role of journalist changing in the future?

I’ve worked at AUR about three years teaching travel writing, editing and publishing, even food writing which has been lots of fun - introducing American students to a world beyond pizza pasta and gelato. How can you not like a university that lets you do all these things, sits atop of sunny Gianicolo and has beautiful Villa Sciarra across the street? I remember you mentioning that you’d developed a perfume. Could you tell me a bit about how that came about and will you be

Not in any profound way. The métier has been revolutionized, no doubt. But it’s still about finding news, sticking to the facts and verifying one’s sources. As for the onset of fake news - well, journalists have had to deal with Fox News for years, so they are well equipped. If you could return to experience one aspect of your life again which would it be and why? In 1986 I started a monthly city magazine in Milan. Beautiful

developing any more? Is it publicly available? A few years ago I published a book called Chasing the Rose: An Adventure in the Venetian Countryside (Knopf, 2014). It was a travel book/reportage about my journey into the world

black and white photography and excellent writing. It struggled, lost money. I shut it down within the year. A pity. It was damn good magazine and I should have given it more of a chance.

of old roses, searching for the true identity of one particular rose. Readers from all over the world - Australia especially for some reason - badgered me about making a perfume with that rose - which I had officially named Rosa Moceniga. I couldn’t




LAUREN JOLLIFFE Communication, 2001



frequently travel to China.

s a child growing up in Newport Beach, CA,

Lauren Jolliffe yearned to explore the world. She relished each opportunity to accompany her father on business trips that

Today, Jolliffe is back in Newport where she is an author writing

took the pair to Asia and Europe. She became enamored with

a series of children’s books published by the 531 Group entitled

Italy during a trip there when she was 15 years old. “I fell in love

“The Adventures of Aunty Apple” which tell the story of the

with the culture,” Jolliffe recalls. “I knew that once I graduated

main character’s travels around the world. One of the books

from high school I would choose to attend an international

in the series will be about Aunty Apple’s adventures in Italy -

university.” A few years later, she heard about The American

something Jolliffe knows all too well, thanks to her experience

University of Rome from a friend. “Once I visited the campus, I

at AUR. “I adore Italy so this book will be full of fun and very

knew it would be the school I would graduate from,” she recalls.

colorful,” says Jolliffe, who is also writing a screenplay and novel

Jolliffe found Rome to be a magical place to be a student.

about Italy.

“There is a great education outside the classroom,” she says. “The history and culture is so rich in Rome and when you are a

Jolliffe continues to be involved with the American University

student there you are surrounded by it.”

of Rome and has co-chaired the annual AUR Alumni event at the Villa Aurelia over the past several years. She also enjoys

Every day she attended AUR, Jolliffe experienced something

meeting with prospective AUR students who are in the process

new, “from a violinist playing music on an ancient cobblestone

of applying to college and are searching for something different

street, or a Roman ruin sticking out of a building that would

than the average college or university. “When you have had

catch my eye or the barber who sang as he swept the steps to

such a great experience you want to share it with everyone,”

his shop.” On several occasions, the student found herself sitting

she says. “I always say to high school students ‘if you love to

under a monument where a Roman Emperor once stood.

immerse yourself in a different culture and want to meet some

“Every day I felt like I was walking through a film set,” she adds.

of the most interesting friends and classmates then AUR is the

Once, when Jolliffe walked into a church, she stumbled upon

university for you.’”

a performance by world-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli. “I could have cried - it was a wonderful surprise,” she recalls. One of the best parts about attending AUR, according to the 2001 graduate, were the international students who hailed from many different countries around the world. “Being surrounded by peers who spoke multiple languages and who led such interesting lives really intrigued me,” says Jolliffe, who shared many memorable experiences with friends she met at AUR, including ski trips to Zermatt, and Mediterranean beach holidays and weekend jaunts to Paris and London. The experience of living in Rome taught Jolliffe how to live independently. “I had to find my way, whether it was figuring out bus and train schedules, dealing with strikes, finding apartments every semester or traveling alone,” she recalls. “It

Lauren was interviewed by Faith Carrie Coolidge. Faith is a personal finance, luxury lifestyle and travel journalist based in Manhattan and a member of AUR’s Board of Trustees.

matures you. After living and studying in Italy, I felt like I could do anything if I put my mind to it.” It was this international experience - being surrounded by many different cultures and languages in addition to the education she received at AUR - that Jolliffe credits for preparing her for international assignments with biotech and pharmaceutical companies, including one position that required the communications major to


CLASS NOTES Alessandro Batazzi International Relations, 2008

“After leaving AUR, I took some time off from my studies and moved to Brazil to reconnect with part of my family’s identity. I travelled the country and got work experience in the private sector. I then went on to study at the University of Bristol, receiving an MSc in Development and Security with Merit. This led me to Geneva, where I joined the UN International Labour Organisation for 3 years, working for the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour. There, I managed technical cooperation projects, assisting also with training and research on the subject in the UN Turin Campus, as well as the Amman office. Now I live in Brussels, where I have been working for the past two years for the European Commission in the Directorate General for Development and Cooperation, as a Policy Officer responsible for the topics of Employment, Forced Labour, and Inequalities. What I remember most from my time at AUR is the friendly and nurturing environment, where learning would continue outside of the classroom. I remember sitting for coffee and debates with Dr. Walston and Prof. Thomassen, or following all together the live coverage of elections in the US and in Italy. That atmosphere is what led a group of students, including myself, to set up the Model UN Club, which then led to our participation in the Harvard MUN Conferences. This was a wonderful experience that AUR encouraged and sponsored.”

Va l é r i e H e r r i n g International Relations and Global Politics, 2016

“During the summer after graduating from AUR I did an

but took additional modules in global health and security. Some

internship with AlArabiya in Dubai, the biggest media outlet in

time passed and I decided to apply for another masters in conflict

the Middle East after AlJazeera. It was interesting, and I loved

studies at the LSE. In the summer between my masters I was

Dubai (even though it was almost 50°C and it was Ramadan). I

writing my thesis on oil and development in the Niger delta in

then travelled to South Africa and drove to Mozambique, which

Nigeria and also did a three months internship at the Austrian

was beautiful but also exciting. After visiting Zimbabwe, we drove

Embassy in London. The internship led me to meet an Afghan

back to Pretoria and ended our trip in Cape Town. I stayed there

woman that works for the World Bank in London. I applied for

for another month to volunteer in a township in an orphanage for

a part-time internship at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of

children with HIV/AIDS. Experiencing civil war in Mozambique

Afghanistan in London with her recommendation. I received

made me realize that I would like to study conflict.

the position and worked there from mid-January until last week. I was assisting across all departments but also conducted research, wrote briefs for meetings, replied to official letters,

I started an MSc in Development Studies at SOAS that September

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wrote and contributed to speeches that had to be delivered and helped organize a talk with the Ambassador at the LSE. During the course of the internship I also got the chance of meeting important people like Toni Blair’s former advisor and an Afghan Princess. Not to mention the Ambassador himself, who used to be the Chief of Staff of the former President Hamid Karzai before becoming Afghan Ambassador in Washington under President Bush. It was definitely one of the best experiences that I have had so far, as it helped me understand where I want to go next. This summer I will be writing another thesis, this time on the international prosecution of Somali pirates. I will also do a two months intensive Arabic course at the American University of Beirut. Starting in October, I will be enrolled in an online Bachelor of Laws (LLB). My hope is to stay and work in Beirut or move to Amman, Jordan.”

Marcel Kaminstein Business Administration, 2006 “It was 2006, the world was going through massive changes and the economy was in tatters. I had just graduated from AUR with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and hoped that this would prepare me for what was ahead. With little in the way of opportunities in Italy I set off for New York City where I found my first job working for a jewelry company which took me around the world and set me up to work for LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), where I ran the luxury division of the cruise ship duty free stores which continue to take me around the world today. However, the current focus of my efforts is MediaLab. MediaLab is a start-up incubator that has created companies like HealthyEats, the Roman Jewish Book Project “Fried Artichokes” and the BlockChain Project. Why AUR? I had decided I needed to expand my horizons beyond the US to give myself a truly international education. The American University of Rome was the perfect choice. Small classes, high caliber professors and the international backdrop of Rome, all gave me the skillsets I wanted for my life. The professional and personal relationships built during my time at AUR helped me become the person I am today and that network is something that has helped to grow my own business into what it is today. Now that I hire interns from AUR to oversee MediaLab projects in Rome, I understand even more the high quality education that AUR gives.”

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As an Alumna (Italian Studies, ‘16) and current Admissions Counselor, I want to find out what other alumni are currently up to and report on it in a creative and fun way. With the help of the Media Club, I put together a 3-part interview that includes an article, a fill-in quiz, and a 21 Q’s Video. As a total foodie, I wanted my first subjects to be my food-loving best friends who I’ve had the pleasure of cooking with.

Giulia Gulino Communication, 2016

Two food-loving Latinas on a Food and Culture weekend course was a recipe for an everlasting friendship. Why I had never seen Giulia on campus is still a mystery, but I’m glad that our love for food brought us together because a couple of weeks later we were inseparable. Giulia’s mother is Ecuadorian and her father is an Italian chef and restaurant owner – watching him cook delicious meals while growing up is what helped her love for food blossom. So why did she choose to major in Communications? She says she thought it was the perfect major for her since she grew up speaking three different languages and has always been a sociable person. For her senior thesis, she decided to combine her major and love for food to create a food magazine called Scarpetta - an Italian word that means using bread to mop up the leftover sauce from your plate of pasta. The

and bars that she discovers – a personal food journal. Her

food magazine revolved around traditional Italian cuisine with

goal is to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone and

a modern twist, and I have to say that I was truly lucky to try

cook something new or eat something they never thought they

some of the dishes featured in it!

would. “Cooking is about being creative and that’s what Mangia con Gewels is all about!” she says. I ask her if food-blogging for

This January she started a food page on Instagram called

a living is her dream job and she says that she would actually

@mangiacongewels that is actually inspired by Scarpetta. Her

“love to be in the food and hospitality industry and be seen

objective is to share food that she creates as well as restaurants

as someone with deep expertise in food marketing.” She sees herself taking on more managerial responsibilities and leading on some projects. She’s currently living in Los Angeles, working for Snapchat, as a Content Review Associate. I ask her if she misses Rome and she responds, “Yes! Everyday. I wish I wouldn’t have taken Rome for granted, it is such a magical city so take advantage of it [because] you’ll miss it when you’re gone.” She also said that if she had one piece of advice for any current student, it would be to take advantage of the one-credit courses that allow you to travel, meet more people, and learn about topics that you may think you’re not interested in. She’ll be back to visit soon and I’m making her cook for me!

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Lindsey Hook Business Administration, 2017

“Yesenia meet Lindsey, Lindsey meet Yesenia.” Our friend had been waiting to make this introduction for a long time, for the sole purpose of bringing two women together to cook for him. As I reached out to shake Lindsey’s hand, she gave me her forearm and I immediately saw the splint on her pinky finger; she had cut herself as deep as the tendon while using one of her super sharp chef knives. She had me at chef knives! It took one night of cooking and 4 hours of Thanksgiving pie-making to quickly realize that she was a total foodie, a girl of all trades, and a completely fearless multi-tasker. Not to mention, she’s the kind of friend who wants all her friends to succeed too! Lindsey graduated in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in Food Studies. She decided she

She started her food blog “Hook’d on a Bite” to express her

wanted to pursue food as a career when she was studying in New

passion for food, but it wasn’t until she moved to Italy that

York, where she began educating herself through documentaries and

she decided to take it in the direction of sustainable consumer

books about the food system (specifically in the US). She tells me,

decisions. She uses Italian food culture, regions, and traditions

“The more I researched, the more I realized how incredibly screwed

as inspiration and speaks at high schools in the US about

up our food system is in the US - as well as other parts of the world

studying abroad, exploring different cultures, and making more

- and I wanted to spend my career trying to fix that.” She thinks

conscious decisions when buying food.

that the way to do that is through content that interests people and motivates them to make better choices when consuming food and

After graduating from The American University of Rome, she

making more sustainable decisions when buying food.

worked in marketing and communications at the beautiful Agriturismo Diacceroni in Tuscany. Soon after, she started a master’s degree in Food and Wine Management at Il Sole 24 Ore’s Business School in Rome, where she had the opportunity to visit several important companies and make incredible connections. She’s currently about to make her move from Rome to Turin to start her internship at Domori, a fine chocolate company owned by Illy Coffee. Five years from now she hopes to be growing “Hook’d on a Bite” as a company and making a difference in the way we consume food. As she prepares for her move, I can’t help but wonder how I’m going to make it without our weekly cooking sessions or our prosecco girl-talks, but I’m excited to see what Turin has in store for her. Maybe in the near future, she’ll return to AUR – as a guest speaker - to give us a lesson on developing sustainable food habits.

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BETHANY EIGENFELD M.A. Food Studies, 2017

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aving received her undergraduate degree in Islamic

World Studies, Bethany chose AUR’s M.A. Program in Food Studies as the next step towards her career goal to work in food security for refugees and internally displaced people. The courses offered and the location in Rome led her to choose AUR over other graduate schools, and she confirms that the program at AUR and the instruction received from professionals in the field with first-hand experience provided a uniquely dynamic learning environment that exposed her to relevant research and opened doors for significant networking opportunities. During her course of study and through contacts she made at AUR,

second community shortly. In the meantime, Bethany successfully

Bethany secured an internship at the World Food Programme,

negotiated a contract with Carrefour Iraq to sell the vegetables

working on an analysis of humanitarian and security situations

grown in the first camp, marketing the produce for its local appeal,

in Syria that she was able to use as part of her research for her

its support of refugees and its semi-organic production.

thesis on strategy for food security in Syria. In Syria things are more slow-going, given the unstable political The knowledge and experience Bethany obtained with her

situation. However, gardening supplies have been distributed to

Master’s Degree in Food Studies from AUR helped her to

100 households (soon to be another 500), and to three schools

land a position that she found on ReliefWeb’s job board prior

(soon to be 15 more), and Bethany is currently working on

to graduation. She arrived in Rome in December 2016 for her

a more detailed school garden program that has a produce

Master’s Thesis Defense with her bags already packed to take up

utilization/school feeding component, as well as assistance for

her new post as Executive Advisor at a leading Iraqi NGO for

composting and water recycling.

humanitarian aid that works extensively in war-affected areas. Bethany was initially responsible for leading their strategic plan

Bethany’s post-graduate path has also led very happily to love

to set up a mission in Syria, and her starting tasks included

and marriage. She and her husband have the unique opportunity

effecting a needs assessment and creating a work plan. Her

to work as a team on projects in both Iraq and Syria, which she

goals at the outset were to create both an in-kind food assistance

describes as wonderful and rewarding experience.

program as well as a household/community garden program When we spoke with Bethany in December 2016 and asked

for medium/long term assistance.

what her plans for the longer future might be, she then said she hoped to return to Rome at the end of her contract in the field. When and if that still happens, we look forward to welcoming her back to AUR and the Eternal City! By Susan Kaesz

January 2018 marked Bethany’s one-year anniversary in the field, and she is currently running three vocational trainings in Ninewah province, near Mosul, and has just had a proposal selected in a second area near Mosul for a 15-month agriculture reestablishment and training program. The greenhouse and garden project she helped to establish in one of the local refugee camps (pictured) is going very well and may be expanding into a

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THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME Food Program (WFP) and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters, which make Rome an ideal place to study this subject.” Pohl said she was looking for a master’s in a food-related subject after working at WFP for several years. She graduated in 2004 in Business Administration. “When I came for the Alumni Reunion in 2015, Professor Fitzsimmons told me about the new Food Studies master’s being offered, and it seemed like a great fit.” Alexa Caesar, who had an internship at FAO while she was an AUR student, is now employed there. She is the first student to be doing the master’s on a part-time basis to fit into her work schedule. Having that flexibility was what attracted her to the program. “Thanks to the American University of Rome I was able to obtain my dream job,” said Caesar, whose undergraduate degree is International Relations. “Now, I am back at AUR working on my dream master’s program - a degree in Food Studies.” (from left to right) Alexa Caesar, Gabriella Gelardi and Vanessa Pohl

Caesar returned to FAO headquarters after three years working for FAO in South Sudan. She works for their Emergency and Rehabilitation Division as part of the surge support team for


regions in eastern and southern Africa.

here’s no place like home -- or AUR -- for three alumna

who decided to return for their graduate degrees. Alexa Caesar, Gabriella Gelardi and Vanessa Pohl are all studying for their Master’s in Food Studies.

“I believe other students should consider this program because you meet a range of students from all different backgrounds and experiences in various sectors that share the same interests you do,” said Caesar. “The program also connects you to explore

“I chose to return to AUR because I had such a wonderful

various hands-on opportunities, from meeting world-renown

experience as an undergraduate here,” said Gabriella Gelardi,

edfood journalists to visiting slow food movement organizations

Class of 2015 Communications/Marketing. After graduation,

to interning at UN humanitarian agencies.”

she worked as a teacher’s aide for a teenage girl with cerebral palsy. Director of the Master’s in Food Studies program, Dr. Maria Grazia “I also was very interested in the Food Studies program. I couldn’t

Quieti added, “These alumnae enjoy coming back and being

stay away from Rome for long!” she added. “I would recommend

exposed again to the international academic and professional

the Food Studies Master’s for anyone looking for a shorter, more

community working in food, agriculture and biodiversity. By

condensed program which still offers you a general but thorough

being in Rome and through field trips to other parts of Italy, they

understanding of the food system in relation to sustainability.”

learn not only about Italian food and agriculture, but also about the European policies and programs that shape the Italian food

The 15-month program is great for anyone who doesn’t have

ways and agricultural practices.”

the time to study for two years, added Vanessa Pohl. “Italy has such a strong food culture and is also home to both the World

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By Carla Valentine

SPRING EATERIES IN ROME Spring is the time when everything blossoms. The rain gives way to blue skies and the sun sets later. It is the sweet and perfumed introduction to summer. In Rome, the city of La Dolce Vita, spring comes with a myriad of smells, flavors and events. The season starts off with frappe at carnevale, continues with lamb and peaks with the unforgettable colazione Romana on Easter day. Colomba, easter eggs, corallina sausage from the nearby Norcia... spring in Rome seems to ignore the fact that we will all be wearing bathing suits soon. That said, Rome is never dull. Here, a few highlights of the season. THE ROMANTIC EATERY Spring is the season of love... and Valentines Day. Whether you decide to adhere to the romantic festivity or not, it is good as any occasion to eat out. What better place to do so than at Ristorante La Torre at the Fendi owned property, Villa Laeticia? The place is stunnig, the food is fabulous and you can then say you were on the spot where Buffallo Bill camped with his circus in the late 1800s. RISTORANTE ENOTECA LA TORRE at Villa Laetitia Lungotevere delle Armi, 22

THE RELAXING PUB Spring is also the time for a good beer and good cheer on St. Patrick’s Day. Located between Piazza Venezia and Largo Argentinga, Scholars Lounge is the go-to place for the shamrock festivities. Opened back in September 2005 by Declan Crean and Celestino Cucchiarelli, the establishment has become one of Rome’s musts. SCHOLARS LOUNGE ROME Via del Plebiscito, 101 B

THE SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT There is no true Roman spring without artichokes. Either stuffed (alla Romana) or fried (alla Giudia), spring is the season to go nuts for carciofi. Not only can you find them all around the city and in all menus, there is actually a festival of artichokes not far from Rome! From April 3 to the 15, head out to Ladispoli for the Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco. If you’re still suffering from the effects of winter hibernation and prefer to stay in Rome, do head down to the Ghetto neighborhood beside Largo Argentina and treat yourself to a carciofo like the one in the picture.

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The AUR Times Spring 2018


AUR’s newest major in Travel and Tourism 0DQDJHPHQWZHOFRPHGLWVÀUVWVWXGHQWWKLV Spring semester


opportunities for field trips and internships.


“This program has been in the works for a long time,” said

atelyn Molloy, of New York, transferred from Nassau

Community College in Long Island, to continue her studies Kathleen Fitzsimmons, Director of the Business Administration “I’ve always wanted to study abroad and been interested in

program. “The idea first took shape at a retreat of the Business

travel so that’s how I chose this major,” said Maoloy. After doing

Faculty in 2008. In 2012, I was asked do the feasibility study and

an Internet search for colleges in Europe that teach in English,

the next year, we asked Anna to come on board to research and

she found AUR’s new tourism major which was launched last

design the major. With the input of all the programs, she has


designed a truly interdisciplinary major that draws from all of AUR’s strengths.”

“I personally came here because of my Italian heritage,” she added, “I want to find out about my family history.” Her

To any student considering AUR and a tourism career, Molloy

relatives are from the Naples area. Molloy will be entering a

adds, “Just go for it. Come here!”

growing field with currently 1 in 10 jobs attributed to tourism and growth expected at about 3.9% per year over the next 10

By Carla Valentine

years. The Bachelor of Science degree in Travel and Tourism Management prepares students for entry level management positions as well as exciting entrepreneurial careers. “Today, travel and tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world,” said Anna Sasso, who coordinates the major and is a full-time lecturer in Business Studies. “It ranks among the most creative, innovative, dynamic and exciting sectors globally. We are thrilled to be part of it.” In fact, the World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that by 2027, Travel & Tourism will support more than 380 million jobs globally, outpacing other major global economic sectors, including communications, financial and business services, manufacturing and retail and distribution. AUR’s Travel and Tourism Management curriculum is designed to meet the needs of the industry, combining liberal arts, business, and specialized tourism courses along with realworld work experience. Students can concentrate their studies in Food Tourism or Cultural & Heritage Tourism. And Rome, Student Katelyn Molloy (left) with Anna Sasso, coordinator of the Travel & Tourism Management major.

being a travel destination and European capital, offers plenty of

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he Big Pad (official name), made by Sharp, measures

70 in/177.8 cm, and comes with a full Windows 10 Operating system with a touch screen. Faculty can navigate the computer with their finger as opposed to a mouse, draw on their presentations, make color selections and save or discard their marks. They can also draw on browser windows and the Big Pad can become a white board in seconds. “We also have two applications on the desktop that provide interactive functions,� said Rosa Fusco, AUR Director of Computer Services. “Faculty can connect the Big Pad to their own device too. We had a demo last semester, about 15 faculty turned up and they gave me very positive feedback so we decided to try one out. We are renting it for four years. If we

Rosa Fusco, AUR’s Director of Computer Services, showcases our newly-de-

find that it is very successful we may decide to equip further

livered Big Pad, part of an initiative to bring the latest in technology into the

classrooms with this technology.�


The home of The Big Pad is Room B105, if you want to stop by and take a peek. By Carla Valentine



he AUR LGBTQ+ Club has enjoyed an amazing revival

this academic year with 40+ sign ups, a new club t-shirt, an AUR rainbow crest and several rainbow bake sales. The Club leaders have also been key in helping the Traditions Committee and AUR Student Government develop new social events for all the AUR Wolfpack including Homecoming and the Masquerade Ball. Importantly, the community has been supported in a closed Facebook group with ten AUR alumni serving as mentors to whom our students can reach out in private. A very hearty

suggestions is a guide to local establishments in which our

shout-out of gratitude to those mentors, and in particular,

LGBTQ+ students and their allies can better feel at ease. If any

to Amanda Shaw. Between her PhD thesis and teaching at

members of the AUR community have personal experience

the London School of Economics, Amanda has found time

at a local coffee bar, bookshop, pizzeria, enoteca, lavanderia –

to assist in the Club’s efforts to create a safer, more inclusive

anyplace, really – that could be included in the Club’s Safe Places

community for all AUR, including holding a seminar with the

Guide, please send an email to with the name,

Club members. One of the projects coming from Amanda’s

address and a short description of the place. By Kathy Bemis

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7+( 1(: $8575$',7,216&200,77((


series of hilarious and secret meetings were held through the summer of 2017, resulting in the founding of the AUR Traditions Committee as well as AUR’s first ever Homecoming Week. The week’s Welcome Back to the Pack events included free breakfast with American coffee and Italian cornetti, a Clubs Fair, a We Are Wolves We Are One new student welcoming event, an Office Decorating Contest, a Rome Scavenger Hunt and of course, the Mr. AUR Contest. And perhaps a fireworks display off Building B, but the AURTC pleads the 5th on this.

This coming fall semester will also see a Fall Formal; to test the waters for that dance, the Traditions Committee this Spring created and organized AUR’s first – and very successful – Masquerade Ball. The Committee is very interested in learning from our alumni about the older AUR traditions which may have gotten lost through the years, so if you remember one please do reach out! We did learn of a rather risqué tradition having to do with the number “7”, but maybe you could help us out with traditions we can actually admit to having? That said, if an alum who remembers could let us know what the specific seven places were, the Committee will do its best to come up with an alternative activity!

The AUR Traditions Committee founders are staff members Harry Greiner and Kathy Bemis, along with AUR Alumnus Justin Schaefer (’13) and AUR Alumna and staff Laura Estrada Prada (’16); founding student members are Gabriel Wistisen, Rossella Legari, Julia Spina, and Madeline Tersigni. By Kathy Bemis

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AUR is turning 50!


et ready for 2019! AUR will be celebrating its 50th

Anniversary in 2019 and the festivities will get underway with the start of our 2018-19 academic year. Keep a close eye on your inboxes for more details as the plans unfold and help us locate and reach out to any alums who might not already be on our radar. We’re looking for students from all decades to help us tell the AUR story and celebrate our 50 years in the Eternal City. Let’s start with a few old photos . . . do you see yourself or anyone you know? Please reach out to and let us know. Please also send us copies of your own photos and memorabilia

Student housing in the early 70s

– and the stories that go with them, including favorite classes, profs, trips, places in Rome and elsewhere! There shall be no (cobble) stone left unturned. So what are we planning for the big 5-0? Stay tuned, but expect a history book (but no textbook for sure!); many more old photos and perhaps an online exhibition; and partying like it’s, well, 2019! Start thinking about joining us in Rome next May for the Reunion. . . or any month of the year. We are here and ready to welcome you atop the Gianicolo. Just like the good old days! On site class in the early 90s

Remember, you did throw that coin in the fountain . . .

Campus Barbecue in April 1998

On site class in 1982


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< AUR LOVE STORIES AUR is a place where you learn, you grow, you laugh, you cry, you procrastinate and if you are lucky, you can also fall in love. Given the season, we decided to share a couple of AUR love stories in this issue of Wolftracks. Thank you to the Alumni who agreed to share their love with us...

Klaus Heiss (IR, ‘09) and Romalie Suarez (BA, ‘07)

“Romy and I met in late 2004, early 2005 as I was just returning to AUR from studying abroad for a semester in Palestine. I had first met her sister, also an AUR alumna Corylie Suarez, and we instantly became friends as we were a very small community of Spanish speakers/Latin Americans. I met Romy and the first thing she did was to offer me a typical Caribbean dish of rice and beans, and although she hoped that I would say no, instead I said yes. Suffice to say the food was great! We started out as close friends, and by March/April of 2005 we were dating.

Our first serious date was to Lake Bracciano with a bottle of wine.

Romy, Klaus and Nico

Subsequently, watching the sunrise at the Colosseum was our second. We both did the study/work scheme at AUR, both of us worked in the tourism sector in Rome for years, we both graduated from AUR, got engaged when we were living in Rome and we both remained there, working for a few years after graduation. In late 2009 we decided to move to Denmark to pursue our Masters’ degrees. We married on February 7, 2010 in Copenhagen, and have a son named Nicolas who will turn 3 in May 2018. We just celebrated our 8th year of marriage.” Romy and Klaus in 2006

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Pasquale Napolitano (IDS, ‘07) and Luisa Sanchez (COM, ‘07)

When we dated at AUR, the Thai Inn on Via Ozanam was one of our favorite spots. It was great to go back there with the kids, some 8 years or so since we were last there.”

Pasquale and Luisa with Laura and Giorgio “Luisa and I met in August of 2003 at AUR and were good friends but didn’t start dating until 2006. We got married in August of 2008 in El Salvador and then moved to London for our respective MAs before moving to Costa Rica and then Maine, where both Laura (5 years old now) and Giorgio (1 year old) were born.

Pasquale and Luisa at AUR in 2006

Michael Park (BA, ‘07) and Christina Sweeney (SA, ‘08) To find your perfect match, you need to play the field! This is

where Michael covers all North American opportunities for an

especially true for these two Alumni who met during their time at

Italian industrial computer manufacturer. After AUR, Christina

AUR. Michael Park and Christina Sweeney are going on 10 years

continued her education reaching a Master’s Degree, and now

together! Michael coached the AUR Shewolves where Christina

works as a High School Guidance Counselor. They love to travel

played as goalie. They both now live together in Boston, MA

and hope to make it back to Rome soon!

Michael and Christina in 2008 at a SheWolves game

Michael and Christina today

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Alex Sexton (COM, ‘12) and Ashley Babin

“Ashley and I met in the summer going into my Junior year of AUR. I had just arrived back in Rome and went straight to my local watering hole The Abbey Theater. It was a hot July day and as many of you know a cold pint goes a long way. Ashley had just moved to Rome after she graduated from UCSB in Classical Archeology. Our mutual friends who worked at The Abbey introduced us as we were the only two at the bar. We hit it off immediately. At the time I was in between apartments and living with different friends depending on the night. I ended up staying on Ashley’s couch until she left for France for a month to nanny. When she got back I had an apartment and she was now without a place so she moved in with me until she could find a place.

Alex and Ashley today

Well, it has been 7 years and she has yet to find a new place. The way we look at it is that we met through mutual homelessness and we have not looked back.

Ashley and I now focus on eating and drinking locally across the globe! We have dedicated our lives to promoting sustainable tourism through cuisine. You can check out our website www. where we have articles, podcast, and books all about different cuisines from around the world.”

Alex at an AUR vs JCU Who game in 2008

Alex and Ashley back then

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Michael Maury (COM, ’08) and Jeremy Prince (IS)

Classic AUR couple Michael Maury and Jeremy Prince are still together and living in San Francisco. Mike says, “Not married yet but we met at AUR and can’t imagine life without each other! Shannon is still my best friend although she lives in Orange County now.” You can’t help but recall healthy hilarity, creativity and social consciousness when thinking of these much loved AUR Wolves.

“MyfavoriteAURmemoryis most definitely participating in the Mr. AUR contest!”

Michael and Jeremy today Unique memories like these are priceless.” It’s one of our favorite memories, too - Mike brought down the house in the first ever Mr. AUR contest with his shimmery silver swimsuit, winning the title. Both Mike and Shannon’s Comm degrees have led to social media and marketing, while Jeremy went on to get his Masters in History from San Francisco State University. Jeremy works for the GLBT Historical Society and BEAR – the latter of which he founded. Keep your eyes on this trio because when it comes to riotous fun,

Michael, Shannon and Jeremy

they’re only getting better at it!

First even Mr.AUR and his Cookie Monster

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THE AUR QUIZ Name: Nickname: Major: Minor: Graduated in: Currently:

My favorite Roman dish is:

I never get tired of visiting:

a. Amatriciana

a. the Colosseum

b. Carbonara

b. the Trevi Fountain

a. The president of a club

c. Cacio e pepe

c. the Pantheon

b. Fairly involved in activities

d. Alla gricia

d. the Vatican

c. If I wasn’t in class I wasn’t thinking

e. Other:

e. Other:

At AUR I was:

about AUR d. Constantly checking how many absences I had left

If I had to describe the AUR student in 3 words, they would be:

As a student, I would never leave my apartment without:

My favorite lunch spot around AUR is:

The downside to living in Italy was:

Every time I went home for my break I would bring back:

a. Simone’s b. Homebaked

As a student I would:

c. Archi Bar d. Sandwich Brothers

a. Do everything 2 weeks before it was

e. Other:


If an incoming AUR student asked me for advice, I’d tell him/her:

Want to participate in Yesenia’s 3-part interviews? Fill out the quiz (preferably by hand), scan it, and send it to alumni@!

My level of homesickness when I was at AUR was: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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b. Give myself a couple of days to work on it c. Be Procrastinator #1. All-nighters were my life

If I could go back and take another class at AUR, I would:


The AUR Vesta Volunteer Club is pitching in with the folks at

most important library on migration. CS634’s Director General

CS634 for a bit of neighborhood clean up on the first Saturday

Gioacchino Campese (photo, far left) has guest lectured many

of each month. We love SC634 for the way they welcome guests

times for AUR’s Intercultural Communication class, and is one

(ie, refugees and migrants) into their Roman villa, and provide

of the three presenters in the international conference that will

not just a home but the valuable skills needed to move forward

be held this April 26: Voci e storie dalla frontiera MEX-USA

towards a fuller, more integrated life in Italy while remaining

(Voices and Sotries from the MEX-USA Border).

connected with their home cultures, faiths and foods. And while AUR folk might find themselves in Rome for very

Contact if you will be in Rome and would like

different reasons, Scalabrini never fails to help us find common

information on how to attend.

ground with their guests. By Kathy Bemis While Casa Scalabrini is on the other side of Rome, their world headquarters is next door to AUR, and their Center for Emigration Studies just down via Dandolo is home to Italy’s

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M AT T H E W R I P S O M Business Administration, 2015

There are many people who support AUR and, as Director of Development, I thought it might be interesting to talk to some of them about their motivation for giving back. In the first of what I hope will be many donor inter views, I spoke with Matthew Ripsom, 2015 Alumnus and a generous and consistent donor to AUR. I hope what Matthew says will inspire many others to follow his lead! If you are a donor and interested in talking about why philanthropy is important to you, please drop me a line at And thank you to Matthew and all of our generous donors for supporting AUR!

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Q & A A.B.: Why do you think it’s important to be philanthropic?

A.B.: What would you say to others who are considering a gift? Why should they do it?

M.R.: I think philanthropy is an opportunity for us to express, in our actions, the mindfulness and kind-heartedness that we

M.R.: After our time at AUR, we have all moved on to the

all feel within ourselves. These actions have a direct positive

next chapters in our lives. I view a donation as a wonderful

impact on helping those in need; moreover, we are able to take

way to not only show support for our beloved school but also

an active role in spreading our goodwill.

to reconnect with AUR and the experiences we had during our time in Rome. AUR is continuing to work towards an

A.B.: Why do you give to AUR? What first inspired you to give?

ever-brighter future and I know that every gift, no matter the amount, supports this progress. Our broad participation is

M.R.: AUR holds a special place in the minds and hearts of all

more important than the gift size.

of us students and alumni. I view my donations to AUR as a means of conveying my appreciation for what the school is to

A.B.: You also give back your time –which is equally important.

me and to show my support for AUR’s continued growth and

What can you say to fellow alums about getting involved with AUR?

betterment. M.R.: I understand that it is easy for us to be caught up in our A.B.: Could you tell us about the things you have supported and

current lives – busy with work, family, and friends. But all

why they are important to you? For instance, you have supported

of us share such an important bond of having attended AUR

the Business Department’s annual capstone trip, our Refugee and

and lived in the Eternal City. Getting involved with AUR and

Displaced Persons Scholarship Fund, the general annual fund,

fellow alums serves to strengthen that bond and grow our

and the James Walston Fund.

global network. Our collective experiences and insights are a tremendous resource for our school and alumni base.

M.R.: The variety of charitable initiatives at AUR are all wonderful opportunities to support great causes and I think it

A.B.: Matthew, will we see you at the Annual Reunion in New York?

mostly comes down to the question of if we are drawn towards a particular initiative due to our own personal connection. There’s

M.R.: May 19 – I will be there and hope to see many other alums

no doubt that giving to the general annual fund allows the most

as well.

freedom for money to be steered to areas of need. Focusing on particular areas is another great way for us to express our

Students Helping Students is a challenge issued by AUR Student Government in an effort to use a portion of their budget to promote a culture of philanthropy among the AUR community while also helping students in need. Student Government will match all donations to the fund, dollar for dollar, up to $2,000. The funds will support a student(s) in need with excellent academic standing for Fall 2018.

support. The capstone trip, refugee fund, and James Walston Fund are all meaningful to me in that we can help create further opportunities for students that broaden their experiences and, ultimately, we also enrich our school community. A.B.: This year, you agreed to support our new fund - in fact you were the first donor - sponsored by AUR Student Government, “Students Helping Students,” which is a challenge issued by Student Government to help promote philanthropy and raise funds for student scholarships. Their budget will match each gift


to the fund, up to $2,000. What about that fund appealed to you? M.R.: This is a great idea by Student Government. Bravissimi! I love the idea of our student community taking an active role in helping other students.


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FUNNY PICK UP LINES Given that it’s the season of love and romance, and we always tr y to give our readers at least a page of light-hearted smiles, we present to you a quick read of funny pickup lines. Wolftracks, however, does not take any responsibility for the actual efficacy of these phrases. But for those of you who are not comfortable with Singles’ Day on Valentine’s Day, these might provide some food for thought. (The worst thing that can happen is that the person you use these on laughs. Laughter is, ever ywhere in the world, the best conversation starter.)

“Are you a campfire? ‘Cause you’re hot and I want s’more.”


“Is your name Google? ‘Cause you have everything I’m searching for.”


“Hi, my name is [Your Name], but you can call me tonight.”



“Can I have your picture so that I can show Santa what I want for Christmas?”

“We’re not socks. “I ADVISE YOU But I think we’d make a TO SURRENDER IMMEDIATELY, OR great pair.” I’LL HAVE TO USE A PICK UP LINE . ”

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Photo by current student Fontaine Talamoni, 2nd place winner of the Photo Contest organized by AUR’s Media Club. Originally a transfer student from University of Hilo, Hawaii. Fontaine is now a freshman at AUR, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies. His hobbies include cooking and trying out new recipes. “I figure you’re never too old to go back to school, so here I am.” (A special thank you to Isaac Yoon and Rocco Anelli from the Media Club, for holding the Photo Contest!)

Wolftracks - Spring 2018  

It’s spring! And like Joan Jett wisely put it… “Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let’s do it… let’s fall in love!” (I lik...

Wolftracks - Spring 2018  

It’s spring! And like Joan Jett wisely put it… “Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let’s do it… let’s fall in love!” (I lik...