So now comes finals time. Food has always been a big part of finals for me. Finals studying usually involves the consumption of excessive amount of caffeinated drinks, ordering food to be delivered to the library, and snacking. Sometime our diets are not so healthy, but I find that one of my go to snacks is a healthy option: hummus. High in protein, high in fiber, and low in fat, not to mention you can put it on anything and dip anything in it.

Two weeks ago, I participated in the UConn Hillel hosted hummus competition event with my friends Max, Grace, and Payal, under the team name ChickPlease, where 45 teams showed up to compete for a year’s supply of hummus. Walking in, there was a long table in the center with a myriad of ingredients ranging from different herbs: oregano, rosemary, chives, cilantro, to different oils: olive, sesame, canola. Teams were given 1 hour to create their best recipe. There were two rounds of judging, one round open to the public who bought tickets to the event, and they would go around to different tables tasting the different recipes each teams came up with and would vote and give tickets to the ones they liked best. After that round, the five teams with the most amount of tickets would go to the judging round, where 4 judges would taste and then announce the winner.

What we came up with was a hummus with sriracha, garlic, basil, honey, scallions, lemon. In the end we were announced the winner for coming up with an innovative and delicious recipe.



Who’s Chihuly

At a young age I came to appreciate art in the form of blown glass when my parents built our house in East Lyme, CT. I accompanied them on many trips to lighting and hardware stores to choose out the lighting fixtures for the house;  along the way I came across many hand blown sconces, chandeliers, and pendants- they always had an affinity for Murano. Furthermore my mom would go on business trips across sea to Venice, Florence, and Rome, and would always bring back stories of artisans who crafted and mastered the art of blowing glass.

I remember explicitly the first time I went to Las Vegas and stood in the Bellagio Lobby, that hotel with the synchronized fountains, and staring up the ceiling covered in a myriad of beautifully colored blown glass poppies the size of large discs. The artist that was commissioned to create this installation is known as Dale Chihuly, who is quite debatably the most famous glass sculpture artist alive. His iconic works includes towers of blown glass bulbs protruding from a single center varying in all colors in the spectrum. Dale Chihuly’s works has also been showcased in the MoMA, Guggenheim, and the Met. He also has a museum located in Seattle, WA.

Also, a Chihuly piece that people from Connecticut would instantly recognize is the glass sculpture in the middle of Mohegan Sun Casino. Many don’t realize that this was a commissioned Chihuly piece.

Pictures are shown below.

dale-chihuly-bellagio Chihuly-sculpture-a-glittery-greeting-to-Glass-Pavilion-Art-Museum-site-opens-August-27-2 Dale_Chihuly_Mille_Fiori_2 Sea-Blue-and-Green-Tower ikebana-boat ececbdcc6255f53c4a1e7772d5d1b98e


NYC Weekend Alternative Break

I had the amazing opportunity of being selected for one of Community Outreach’s Alternative Breaks to New York City. Having gone to Jamaica on the Greek Alternative Break 2014, I wanted to continue my commitment to service and participate in other alternative breaks that the university has to offer. After researching all of the alternative breaks that were available this semester, I applied to do a weekend one to NYC, with a focus on HIV/AIDS. The trip took place November 7-9.

This short weekend was a life-changing experience and I am so grateful that I went. We got the chance to learn through the eyes of many different perspectives, as well as learn the history of HIV/AIDS activism. We visited a Harm Reduction Center, in which they do clean needle exchanges for people to turn in their used needles and get clean ones for free. They also give out “safer smoking” and “safer sniffing” kits in order for people to reduce their harm when they are doing certain drugs. This work is obviously very controversial, which is why it was great to get the perspective of the people who work there, as well as talk through some of the controversial aspects of the whole idea.

We also got to go to “Act Up” Headquarters in Manhattan. This was such a unique experience being that Act Up is the organization that started HIV/AIDS activism back in 1987 when there were many people who were HIV positive with a medication that was ineffective in helping them fight the disease. We got to really experience how activism works, not just in regards to HIV/AIDS, but in general.

If you have the opportunity, you should go on an alternative break. You learn so much about yourself and the other people that you go with and you get to give back at the same time. I feel a much deeper connection to HIV/AIDS awareness and activism than I did before I went on this trip and I now know some ways that I can help fight for the causes.





Recruitment Boot Camp

Over the summer, a few Brothers from the Connecticut Colony of Alpha Kappa Lambda were fortunate enough to experience something great. Alpha Kappa Lambda held their biannual conclave in Carmel, Indiana as a capstone to their centennial celebrations. Prior to the conclave, there was a weekend long Recruitment Boot Camp session that focused solely on re-evaluating and improving the way brother’s recruit new members. To me, attending an event like this is the perfect way to start out the Fall Semester. As a Greek, it is important to be skilled in the art of recruiting and socializing. During the Recruitment Boot Camp, our brother’s learned things ranging from how to make great first impressions to which questions to ask that will keep potential new members talking while at the same time enjoying their conversation. I believe that this type of training is beneficial for anyone in Greek life after a long summer off from school. Even if you have great social skills and are extremely comfortable with the new people that you want to bring into your organization, a small refresher on recruiting skills will create a feeling of positive motivation amongst the current members of your organization and overall help to improve your chapter.

Having three members of our organization take the road trip out to Carmel and participate in this Recruitment Boot Camp benefited our colony as a whole because they shared the ideas they learned and the motivation that they acquired toward recruitment with the rest of their brothers. We now look forward to hosting a more localized version of Recruitment Boot Camp in the future, so that everyone in the colony can share the same experience. We are extremely proud to have had these three fine men represent the UConn Colony of Alpha Kappa Lambda in Carmel this year and look forward for more events like this in the future.



Greeks Succeeding Academically

Storrs, CT – The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) is proud to announce the reactivation of Gamma Sigma Alpha at UConn!

Gamma Sigma Alpha National Academic Greek Honor Society (GSA) is the premier organization committed to the academic success of our members and alignment with the academic missions of our host institutions. Students are eligible for membership based on grade point average and membership in a Greek fraternity or sorority. The Society strives to uphold the high ideals of scholastic achievement and therefore, only students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above (on a 4.0 scale) at the start of their junior year or a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in any semester during their junior or senior year are eligible. Gamma Sigma Alpha is headquartered in Colorado, with over 215 chapters across the country and in Canada.

On Friday, April 18, 2014 24 undergraduate students, representing all 4 Greek governing councils, and 3 OFSL staff members were initiated into the Eta Epsilon chapter of Gamma Sigma Alpha as reactivating members. The new initiates are:


Student Initiates

  • Marielle Avallone, Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Kristina Barsczewski, Alpha Epsilon Phi
  • Alicia Benjamin, Delta Zeta
  • Teri Chung, Kappa Phi Lambda
  • Faith Crittenden, Zeta Phi Beta
  • Gabriela Deambrosio, Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Michelle Emmanuel, Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • Kelly Fuller, Pi Beta Phi
  • Ken Gobin, Beta Theta Pi
  • Danielle Grover, Alpha Epsilon Phi
  • Casie Guerrera, Delta Zeta
  • Ellen Harness, Pi Beta Phi
  • Kayla Kamerer, Phi Sigma Rho
  • Jillian Kowalski, Gamma Phi Beta
  • Tracey Lafayette, Zeta Phi Beta
  • Nicholas Lau, Pi Delta Psi
  • Alexxis Letizia, Delta Gamma
  • Hannah Lucca, Gamma Phi Beta
  • Kelsey Masterson, Gamma Phi Beta
  • Bridget O’Malley, Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Meredith Patenaude, Kappa Alpha Theta
  • Rachael Rocco, Delta Zeta
  • Shayna Smith, Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • Lauren Tortorici, Kappa Kappa Gamma

Honorary Initiates

  • Alexandrea M. Carrier, Pi Beta Phi
  • Jamel Catoe, Theta Delta Sigma
  • Todd C. Sullivan, Delta Upsilon

For more information about the Eta Epsilon Chapter of Gamma Sigma Alpha at UConn, please contact Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Jamel Catoe.

Arête Awards: Individual Nominations

Storrs, CT – In a just a couple of weeks, 2013 will be history just like the 2013 Project Arête program. Therefore, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life encourages everyone to reflect on the year 2013 and consider nominating outstanding members of the community for awards by the Sunday, January 5th deadline. Individuals will be recognized in the following areas:

  • Greek of the Year
  • Greek Emerging Leader
  • Outstanding Greek Senior
  • Outstanding Greek Scholar
  • Outstanding Greek Volunteer
  • Outstanding Auxiliary Group Member
  • Outstanding Chapter President
  • Outstanding Council Officer
  • Outstanding Faculty/Staff Advisor
  • Outstanding Alumnus/a

Nomination can be submitted via UConntact!

OFSL Launches New Website!

STORRS, CT – The University of Connecticut Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) is pleased to announce the launch of its brand new website (greeklife.uconn.edu).

The previous version of the site was designed almost seven years ago. Since technology changes so fast, saying that “the old Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life website was outdated” would be an understatement. The new website offers a contemporary look and structural enhancements based on the feedback that was received from a communications survey the office conducted earlier this semester.

In keeping with one of this year’s goals, the new website will offer a streamlined user experience and will showcase the new identity to the public. The goal was to develop a more resourceful tool for alumni, current and potential members, advisors, fraternal partners, family and friends. The OFSL hopes that the new website offers quick and easy access to essential material which is part of OFSL’s ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and availability of information.

Website content corrections and suggestions can be directed to Jamel Catoe, Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.