European Club: Celebrating Our Heritage

— Gregory Zenon

University of Massachusetts Amherst Inside Out, 1993 Yearbook, (p. 183)

"Greek Night," on Greek Independence Day, is an example of the effort and sophistication that the Five Colleges European Club puts into events that it coordinates. Initiated by President Dimos Silvestriadis, and organized by the Worcester Dining Commons, the night found 10,000 students eating traditional Greek food such as spanakopita (spinach pita) and baklava for desert. Greek dancers performed, and students joined in the festivities.

Theodore Passas, Consul Greece and former representative of Greece to the United Nations, spoke after the dinner on "Crisis in Yugoslavia: The Greek Perspective." The lecture drew a crowd of more than 150 people.

"This European Club is great! " said School of Management sophomore Mark Lawry, who attended the lecture by Passas. "I thought it was going to be long and boring, but there are tons of people here, and everyone is arguing and debating about Yugoslavia. I can't believe how many other UMass students are really excited about these issues!"

Students who join the club are primarily students of the social sciences, although a large segment is composed of students with various European heritages.

"Members of the European Club are students with the desire to keep up with events that go on in Europe," said Silvestriadis. A senior economics management major, he founded the club in January of 1991 because "all University students should know what's going on in Europe. It's an emerging power."

Lectures, panel discussions, debates, dances, and trips all comprise the European Club's schedule of events. With more than four hundred members from the Five College area, each activity draws at least a crowd of a hundred people.

Talks by guest speakers included "The Automobile Industry under Global Competition Conditions," by Giuseppe Greco, president and C.E.O. of Ferrari North America, Inc., and "What Exactly Collapsed in the U.S.S.R., " by Economics Professor Richard Wolff.

"There are European Clubs at all five colleges. UMass is the main vein and the heart," said Kristel Bohm, the vice president of academic and corporate relations, a senior economics major. Located in 110 Thompson Hall, the European Club boasts a wealth of resources and information.

As a "European Databases Center," the club has its own telecommunications electronic mail address and maintains several computers in addition to a fax machine. The office holds European and internationally focused newspapers and journals, pamphlets in various European languages, and tourist information.

"We also print the European Club News Letter, which we mail at no charge to all interested students. There are about 400 students on the mailing list. This keeps everyone informed of upcomming events and includes articles of European news as well." said Nicole Prunier, the vice president of finance and a senior economics major.

"All of our events have been successful. We advertise everything we do at all five colleges and coordinate well. From providing receptions for lectures to providing entertainment at dances, we make sure things are done the right way. The European Club is enjoyable, entertaining, informative, and fun. Everyone should join," said Bohm.

Photo 1st (not on the web) by Joe Minkos "President Dimos Silvestriadis presents a gift to Consul of Greece Theodore Passas after the Greek night celebration held this year"

Photo 2nd (not on the web) by Joe Minkos "Theodore Passa's lecture on the "Crisis in Yugoslavia: The Greek Perspective" drew a crowd of more than 150 people"

European Club
UMass Index 1994: European Club