Bonne Vie Apparel Company

By Dante Cabral

Asst. Features Editor

Bonne Vie is a new apparel company that was started by a group of Sacred Heart students. CEO Alex Guerrero is a junior at Sacred Heart with a Marketing and Management double major and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Advertising.

Guerrero, who is from Long Hill, New Jersey, started the company to help bring awareness to causes that aren’t given the recognition he thinks they deserve.

“Our goal is to raise awareness for causes that don’t really have it,” said Guerrero

Bonne Vie means “the good life” in French and is the motto that the company is trying to live by.

“That’s really  what we are trying to promote, whether  it be an end to breast cancer or helping people through their anxiety or depression,” said Guerrero.

Guerrero and his team started working on Bonne Vie in March of this year, but didn’t release actual products until a series of hats in July.

Bonne Vie hats each display one word that highlights a specific cause the company is trying to shed light on. The three released so far are Vitae, Erro, and Amare.

The Vitae line is dedicated to spreading awareness for breast cancer, while Erro focuses on depression, and Amare on domestic abuse.

“I bought the hat that donates to the breast cancer foundation because it really hits home for me. I have someone very close to me who is fighting cancer right now, so knowing I could help donate to help find a cure meant a lot to me,” said junior Aarika Mallory.

Each of the three words has a meaning that the Bonne Vie team thinks symbolizes each issue accordingly.

Vitae translates to life, something that those affected with breast cancer fight for every day. Erro means wanderer and the company feels that people suffering from depression tend to wander alone through life. Amare represents love and fights against domestic abuse.

Guerrero has a dedicated team that helps him make Bonne Vie as strong as it is today. One member is CFO Billy Gounaris, a junior at Sacred Heart.

“One of the main reasons I joined Bonne Vie was because I felt it was a great opportunity to help others and help spread as much awareness as I could for those in need,” said Gounaris.

Bonne Vie has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Thirty percent of the company’s profits benefit  these organizations.

“We plan to make our donations even higher once we can sustain ourselves,” said Guerrero.

The Bonne Vie team specifically makes hats because they believe they are more unique than the standard t-shirt.

“You can only make a shirt so different,” said Guerrero. “But if you see someone walking around with a pink strap on their hat, you know that’s us. That unique quality helps the people wearing our stuff  be unique, and it helps  our brand be unique.”

In  addition to working on a new line that may release in spring of next year, Bonne Vie is also creating new designs that will highlight disorders such as autism and heart disease.

Bonne Vie is working closely with Sacred Heart on a university-edition hat that will potentially launch in the spring. The hat would be available at SHU events and fundraisers on campus throughout the year.

For more information, visit @bvapparelco on Instagram or the company website, https://www.bvapparelco.com/.

“Many of us are fortunate enough to go through our lives and be free of issues like cancer, depression, or domestic violence and I felt this was a way for me to give back to my community, and others as well,” said Gounaris.

The Freshman Experience

By Kelsey Hor

Co-Perspectives Editor

Did you ever feel anxious or nervous when experiencing something new? Do you ever wonder what amazing things will happen once you start a new chapter in your life?

The Sacred Heart community is proud to welcome a new freshman class to walk the halls of its campus each year.

For some Sacred Heart freshman students they feel already comfortable in their new campus environment within just the first couple of weeks of class.

“I really like the campus so far since I’ve been here. People here are so friendly. I mostly like how people are so innovative on campus and have positive mindsets,” said freshman Lucca Casalduch.

Although some students may feel like they are already adjusting to the college lifestyle, others may feel they are having a harder time living away from home.

“It’s more like we need to act like the adults now and do things ourselves,” said freshman Alyssa Giorno. “You have to be really on top of every aspect such as laundry, extra curricular activities and more.”

Along with being independent for the first time, other students said that another challenge they had to face involved academic schoolwork in addition to getting around an unfamiliar environment.

“The biggest challenge is managing your time. There are so many things being thrown at you and you’re going to have to organize them yourself. Finding your way around campus was also a struggle but, in time you get used it within a couple of weeks,” said freshman Shaun Williams.

According to some students, homesickness is still going to hit you no matter how much you like your new freedom and the campus environment. This holds true especially to certain international students.

“I’m a foreign student from Puerto Rico. When I’m homesick I try to find students who speak the Spanish language and that are familiar to the island so I can talk to them the way I would at home,” said Casalduch. Sometimes it’s great to get some Puerto Rican food or even hear some music from my country.”

On the other hand, some students that’s hometowns are closer to campus feel they mostly miss the people closest to them while away at school.

“Personally, I miss my friends from back home. Not being in a school with all your hometown friends is strange at first. It’s not like you can see your friends and family everyday like you used to,” said freshman Robert Chiozzi.

Sacred Heart introduced a new course specifically for freshman that would introduce them to college life.

The class’ initial purpose is a program to help the transition into college life for freshman year students at the university easier.

“Freshman Year Experience is similar to an advisory homeroom that basically teaches you to get around campus and is a way to learn more about the university. It’s an extra class in addition to your other classes where you also have papers and projects that are assigned to students,” said Williams. “The class talks about topics like roommate tips, classes, and student activities to get you acclimated to the college world.”

The class aims to help students overcome the initial shock of being away from home for a long period of time, while showing them that there are other students in the same position that they are.

“The whole experience is worth it,” said Chiozzi. “Finding people who end up becoming your friends is something important. It’s finding people who you have similar things in common with that make the experience better.”

She Said: Change is Upon Us

By Giovanna Gatto

Managing Editor (Editorial)

Hello loyal Spectrum readers! First of all, I would like to welcome myself back to the She Said column. After a short international adventure, I have returned as an intermittent writer.

The He Said She Said column will now rotate! My voice as well the rest of the Spectrum staff will dive into some of the crucial topics of our world, or at least whatever grinds our gears.  

As some of you may have noticed there have also been some changes to our traditional newspaper format. Tada! And with all this revamping it only seems fitting to discuss the highs and lows of inevitable change.

As my counterpart of the week has mentioned, this is the beginning of the end for both of us as we enter our bittersweet senior year. While it will surely be filled with laughs and memories, it’s also the gateway to the rest of my life. Yikes.

As a college student, the topic of a career has always been in the back of my mind. While my pipe dream as a professional napper will always be the ultimate goal, the time has come for me to enjoy these final moments with my beloved university.

Change and myself  have a love-hate relationship. Last semester, I packed up and moved to Switzerland for four months. There were plenty of ups and downs during my travels, but it was a great learning experience. I learned about life and about myself. Leaving behind what I knew was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced.

Yet creating a new life out there was something that I am still trying to understand. I saw things that I had only dreamed of before and I faced challenges that sometimes felt impossible. However, through personal reflection following my trip, I now see that my experiences helped me to better accept change. I learned that change is just a part of life. It’s inevitable.

While I would love to be a young undergraduate forever, my time has come. And so I welcome the class of 2021. You guys are truly lucky. The campus that you walk on now is nowhere near the same campus that I came to for my freshmen year way back when. Sacred Heart has always been a place of change, growth and movement.

As a respected elder in the university community, please take my advice and cherish your time here. The moment will come when you want to complain about parking and about not finding a seat at Linda’s, but do not let that taint your experience here.

Sacred Heart is one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. So grow with it–grow as a person. Before you know it you too will be entering your senior year just as jealous as I am right now.

With all of this change going on around me, I can’t help but use it as a way to prepare myself for the things to come.

While change is sometimes scary and may be as difficult as moving thousands of miles away, it can also be something positive that opens doors for new, greater opportunities.

So as my undergraduate career closes, the rest of my life begins.

Campus Ministry Introduces Agape Latte

Agape Latte is an event hosted by Campus Ministry to help students learn more about faith and religion. Photo by Brendan Capuano/Spectrum.

By Roberto Rojas

Staff Reporter

Sacred Heart University had its debut of Agape Latte on Wednesday, April 19 at the Linda’s dining hall in the McMahon Student Commons.

Hosted by Campus Ministry, Agape Latte is an event designed for students seeking to learn more about faith and religion while also trying to create a social environment. It was first started by Boston College in 2007.

“We wanted to do this event in order to create a chill environment but also talk about the importance of faith,” said sophomore Trevor O’Brien. “We realize that students are stressed out due to many things they go through at school, so with Agape Latte, this can help smooth things out and have them come out of here with a clear and
positive mindset.”

Preparation for this event had actually being going along for six months. Those in charge of Agape Latte at the university said that promoting the event was the most important thing for people to get interested.

“I think that students will really enjoy it because it makes the faculty, staff, administrators totally accessible to them, these are the people that they look up to, learn from, and are around every day, but they don’t know anything about them,” said Devon Kemp, Campus Minister of the university. “Having different faculty and staff speak about their lives and experiences allows the students to learn from them on a whole new level.”

The term Agape is a Greek word for a kind of love that seeks nothing in return, while Latte is a rhyme and pun used in reference to the free desserts, coffee, and an engaging discussion offered to students, similar to that of a coffeehouse.

“Boston College actually began Agape Latte ten years ago, and have been working to spread it to other colleges across the country,” said Kemp. “They have been very helpful in getting together our whole plan: our speaker, our location, our marketing materials such as the coffee beans, the buttons, the stickers and much more, so most of the work has gone into our marketing of the event.”

The speaker during Wednesday’s event was Joel Quintong, Director of Residential Life.

During his 30-minute discussion entitled “The Pursuit of Happiness,” Quintong spoke about his career leading up to his arrival at the university and told some stories about his time at Boston College, as well as his Filipino-American background.

“I tried to relate my faith to my extracurricular activities, focusing all my energy on that,” said Quintong. “However, later in my life, I was on a journey on this pursuit of happiness and the one person who really helped me on this journey was my wife.”

Members of Campus Ministry and other clubs around the university are hoping to replicate the success of Agape Latte made by Boston College and other universities by having an event every month starting in the fall next year, with a discussion made by either a staff member or someone in the community to talk more about faith and religion.

“I think it’s important to show the students that faculty and staff go through the same things that we go through in college,” said sophomore Erin Curley. “I think that with Agape Latte, we can create an open forum for discussion about important topics that students and faculty are interested in.”

Student Alternative Spring Break Trips: Pioneers Serving Others Before Themselves

Students spend their spring break making a difference through Habitat for Humanity. Photo courtesy of Lexi Aleksa.

By Nicole Croteau

Staff Reporter

From March 5 to 11, Sacred Heart University students provided community service as they traveled to Ohio, North Carolina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia and other locations during the week.

Four faculty members, 49 students and two staff members traveled around the world participating in community service-oriented, educational trips.

“I traveled to Bogotá, Colombia with 10 other Sacred Heart students to participate in the annual Rise and Walk Foundation mission trip,” said senior Allison Imhoff. “During our time in Bogotá, we performed a home renovation for a family, provided a month’s worth of groceries to four families and assisted in the after-school program within the foundation.”

Students lived with host families and were able to spent time in local communities to learn about different cultures.

“I think that having the opportunity to go on a mission trip is so unique and something that all college students should try to do before they graduate,” said Imhoff. “It is an experience of a lifetime and one that you will never forget.”

Habitat for Humanity went to various locations around the nation and assisted families that were affected by natural disasters and or poverty.

“Habitat for Humanity is a great experience and so rewarding,” said junior Alexandra Aleksa. “I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my spring break any other way. While being in Des Moines, we helped build houses for families that are less fortunate. Overall the experience was unbelievable and something that I would love to return to.”

Some went to Des Moines, Iowa with a Habitat for Humanity affiliate, and worked with families while learning about hope and positivity.

“One of the main reasons I chose Sacred Heart for my undergraduate career, and continued my education here for my master’s degree, is because of SHU’s ability to challenge its students,” said Jillian Gray, a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Volunteer Programs and Service Learning, in a statement to the university. “I was once told by a close friend of mine that life begins outside of your comfort zone, and ever since that day, I have challenged myself to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

For students that went out of the country, immersion in another culture was a powerful experience.

Those who traveled to Nicaragua provided community service to children in poverty-stricken schools, specifically a school named Solidaridad.

“We would walk thirty minutes to the school and teach the children about the importance of nutrition, health and staying in school,” said Ferriby. “I will be forever grateful for this opportunity to better understand these beautiful people and the many difficult lives they live.”

While in Nicaragua, students also worked with women at Asilo De Ancianos La Providencia, a retirement home located in the
community.

They interacted with women in the retirement home, celebrated International Women’s Day and learned about their lives.

“We learned so much from everyone just by listening,” said junior Adilene Garcia in a statement to the university. “I know I will take what I learned from this experience and reflect on it for the rest of my life.”

For more information on how to get involved with service trips or other community service opportunities, contact Matthew Kaye, the Director of Volunteer Programs and Service Learning, at kayem@sacredheart.edu.

“I learned that you really don’t need much to be happy in life,” said Ferriby. “Service has shown me the beauty behind listening to understand, as well as the power that comes with the ability to speak.”

College of Nursing Ranked 4th Best in Connecticut

By Brendan Capuano

Staff Reporter

On March 7, Sacred Heart University’s nursing program was ranked as the fourth best registered nursing university program in the state of Connecticut by registerednursing.org.

According to the website, the methodology that the ranking was based on was the pass rate within the last five years of the program. Sacred Heart scored a grade of 95.70 on the site.

“Positioned along Connecticut’s Gold Coast, Sacred Heart University’s College of Nursing welcomes new, transfer and returning students to complete or upgrade their qualifications,” said a statement about the university on registerednursing.org. “Personal mentorship from industry leaders ensures bachelors and masters of science in nursing graduate excellence.”

For some professors in the College of Nursing, this is a unique honor that helps the reputation of the university and could not come at a better time.

“This honor is directly related to the dedicated, visionary faculty and staff of the College of Nursing and our amazing, professional, hardworking students and alumni,” said Dr. Sherylyn Watson, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of the College of Nursing. “Needless to say, this report is most timely as it is recruitment for future students, being the best advertisement we can ask for as we form our class of 2022.”

Some nursing students had positive reactions to the recognition as well.

“We become a family because we all know and understand what we are going through,” said senior Brianna Paolini. “We help each other out whenever we can, the professors are brilliant and they are a perfect balance of a nurse, professor and a parent.”

The reputation that the school has had for its nursing program has been demonstrated over the last few years with recognitions such as this one.

While this recognition is a positive one for the College of Nursing, there is still more room for improvement.

“Naugatuck Valley Community College is ranked 3rd, has a 96.5% passing rate and we are not far from that score,” said senior Anjelica Sitek. “I think the amount of practice exams and prep courses our professors have provided us these past couple of years will ensure we will all successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination and improve the overall passing rate for the school.”

Nursing students credit the success of the program to their professors who have guided them since they arrived at the school as freshmen.

“They are so concerned about all of us and know when we have had a bad day just by looking at us,” said Paolini. “I think having them be so personable and approachable really helps the learning process.”

The College of Nursing is now looking forward to recruiting the next freshman class, as well as preparing for the future development of the program.

“This achievement will only have a positive effect on the College of Nursing,” said Watson. “This ranking is reflective of many years of hard work and recognizes that we have developed a program that meets our students’ needs and prepares future nurses well. As we grow, this serves as motivation to continue encouraging our students to be the most successful they can be while embarking on their new careers and for faculty to be visionaries in their teaching.”

Winter Storm Stella Impacts New England Schools

Campus operations worked to keep up with Winter Storm Stella. Photo by Victoria Mescall/Spectrum.

By Victoria Mescall

Circulation Manager & Staff Reporter

On Tuesday, March 14 Winter Storm Stella affected Sacred Heart University and the Northeast region of the United States.

The university closed all operations on Tuesday and delayed the start of business Wednesday due to cleanup of the aftermath of the snowstorm.

“Living off campus and on my own was a little bit of a hassle during the storm,” said sophomore Steve Musitano. “Since we only have one shovel and no car cleaners, my housemates and I had to break out the old credit card method and scrape away. Safe to say I now have a new card on the way.”

According to weather.com, Connecticut snowfall totals amounted to 21 inches in Middletown, 15.8 inches in at Windsor Locks-Bradley Int’l Airport (15.8 inches), and 7.1 inches in Bridgeport.

“One day it is 70 degrees and the next day it is snowing like we live in the arctic,” said Musitano.

During the storm, Chartwells Dining Services remained open through the 63’s dining hall, which operated Tuesday from 8 a.m. to midnight. Linda’s and other smaller food service outlets, such as Outtakes, were closed Tuesday.

“I’ve been here for 26 straight hours, but I don’t mind,” said Gary Hunt, a SHU Dining employee and winter storm essential university personnel member, in a university statement Wednesday. “We do it for the kids.”

Some students were still concerned about how safe the roads and parking lots were even days after the storm had passed.

“I’m a commuter so I was upset that we had class Wednesday,” said sophomore Alyssa Pezzella. “I wish they had taken the day and cleaned up the parking lots because it wasn’t safe.”

Due to the excess of snow in parking lots and ice on the roads, class schedules were also affected on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

“My 9:30 a.m. class was supposed to be cancelled but instead the professor started class at 10 a.m. after the delay,” said junior Katherine Seckler, “But the roads were so bad the majority of my class was late anyway.”

The hardest hit region of the United States and the northeast was in Vermont. Bolton Valley had a total snowfall of 58 inches. This was record snowfall for this area and was the highest total snowfall in New England for Winter Storm Stella on Tuesday.

“For those of you that spent Spring Break somewhere fun and warm, I got you a snow storm to welcome you back!” said Residence Hall Director Beth Anne Voight-Jause in an email to the residents of Jorge Bergoglio Hall.

Her email went on to inform her residents of precautionary measures to take in the event that the storm caused the university to close.

“Be prepared for the potential of power outages as well,” said Voight-Jause. “However, the university has generators that will keep the heat on if that happens.”

On Monday evening, the Office of Public Safety delivered a mass phone message via the Emergency Alert System to all members of the university announcing the closing of school Tuesday.

Officer Stephanie Trelli, the Coordinator of Safety and Security Programs for the Sacred Heart Department of Public Safety, sent out an email to students Monday morning as well, explaining emergency procedures and preparedness.

The university resumed normal business and class hours on Thursday morning.

Freshman Charged With Falsifying Rape Accusations

By Natalie Cioffari

Editor-In-Chief 

Last October, Sacred Heart University freshman Nikki Yovino reported that she was allegedly sexually assaulted by two football players at an off campus party.

Yovino recently recanted those statements and was later accused of lying about the rape.

“Something so serious shouldn’t be taken so lightly. When someone says they’ve been raped, we should automatically believe them, we shouldn’t have to then question, ‘hmm could she be lying about this?’” said senior Emily Creighton.

Police reported she made up the story in hopes of gaining the attention and the
sympathy of a potential boyfriend.

“I feel like it’s a bit of a ‘cry wolf’ situation. The whole fiasco completely de-legitimizes the seriousness of sexual assault on college campuses,” said graduate student Haley Tanella.

As reported by the CT Post, she was charged with “second-degree false reporting of an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.” She appeared in court on March 3 and pleaded not guilty.

“Rape is an extremely serious issue and it is not something for either men or women to falsely state. It is not only wrong to make false statements but also is insulting to the actual victim. Her slander has negatively affected the lives of those involved. She should be held accountable for her actions,” said sophomore Tera Del Vecchio.

Yovino’s lawyer, Mark Sherman, told News 12 Connecticut that there is more to the story that will come out later in court. Yovino could potentially face up to five years in prison.

“Personally I think she should get a prison sentence equivalent to the one those two kids would have gotten, especially since she followed through with the accusation for months,” said senior Luke Schiele.

Although it was reported that the two men were dismissed from the university and lost their football scholarships, Deb Novack, Director of Communications said in a statement: “I can say that some of the early information that was released is inaccurate. Sacred Heart never expelled the two students nor was any student stripped of scholarships because of any allegations.”

CT Post reports that the names of the two Sacred Heart students are being withheld by Hearst Connecticut Media.

Since the accusation, ABC7NY reported that Yovino has dropped out of the university and returned to her home in Long Island, New York.

“It is extremely sad to see an event as such transpire on this campus as we are all taught from our very first times here if integrity, respect, and understanding. Any situation dealing with these actions are horrible and should be brought to justice. However, I am confident that our SHU community will be respectful of all parties involved as well as lend a helping hand to those affected,” said junior Cory Robinson.

New Club Coming Soon: Spoon University

By Fallon Bevino

Staff Reporter

Spoon University, a nationwide food blog for college students, is now starting a chapter at Sacred Heart University.

Their website offers a variety of topics ranging from recipes, tips for eating on a budget and insight on the top food-joints around the country.

According to Business Insider, the food blog is suited for millennials. It offers both local and general articles regarding food, wellness, and lifestyles that aim to cater to the needs and interests of young people.

With chapters at over 200 schools nationwide, Spoon University is comprised of student writers who can provide readers with tricks to navigate the variety of food selections at their university and surrounding area.

“It is the food resource for college students. Contributors write, photograph, and video all things food. It’s much like the Odyssey blogs, but for food,” said sophomore Olivia Mittleman, founder and marketing manager of the Sacred Heart chapter.

Mittleman, a food-enthusiast, came upon the food-blog in the early weeks of her freshman year and instantly fell in love with it.

The site is broken down into seven sections including recipes, drinks, how-to, lifestyle, cities, campuses and healthier. Each section consists of hundreds of articles written by students from schools nationwide.

Adding a chapter at Sacred Heart allows students to join and work with other schools around the country.

“Anyone at SHU can join and contribute to the content that is posted on the SHU Spoon Dashboard. Spoon will enable myself and other students to connect with thousands of other contributors who are just as food-obsessed as myself and many others,” said Mittleman.

Forbes also said the site is more than “yet another foodie publication” thanks to its unique business model.

By placing the power into the hands of the creators, Spoon writers and contributors are free to base their articles on anything they choose.

“I was really excited to hear about the addition of Spoon University to Sacred Heart,” said junior Greg Taylor. “Having a place to find everything from restaurant reviews to five-ingredient recipes will make eating and cooking so much easier.”

It helps those beginning to experience cooking and eating on their own by providing a variety of articles, such as money-saving grocery lists, quick and easy late-night snacks, meal-prep recipes, and more.

“I moved off-campus this year and found that cooking on my own is a lot more time-consuming and harder than I anticipated. When I found out about Spoon University, it quickly became one of my favorite sites to live by,” said junior Jess Dubbioso. “My favorite section of the site is the ‘< 5 Ingredients’ recipes, I use them all the time.”

You can check out Sacred Heart’s Spoon University page at spoonuniversity.com/chapter/sacredheart.

If interested in becoming a contributor for the Sacred Heart chapter of Spoon U, contact Mittleman by email at mittlemano@mail.sacredheart.edu, or faculty advisor, Professor Gregory Golda at goldag@sacredheart.edu.

Tell Us Your Story: Allison Wetterauw

Residential Hall Director, Allison Wetterauw pursuing connections within the dorm halls. Photo by Nicole Croteau/Spectrum.

By Tessa Kielbasa

Staff Reporter

Allison Wetterauw is a Resident Hall Director (RHD) at Sacred Heart University for two off-campus dorms, Pioneer Gardens and Oakwood Apartments.

She fell in love with residential life during her time at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.

Not wanting to leave that part of her life behind, she decided to become an RHD for Sacred Heart.

Wetterauw was a Resident Success Assistant (RSA) during her college years while pursuing her undergraduate degree in media studies and minor in philosophy.

“I loved being an RA. I loved that connection, helping someone and putting on programs,” said Wetterauw.

As a Zumba instructor, she put on classes for her residents and continued to build that connection.

Sacred Heart is close to her hometown of Darien, Conn. After graduation, she found the RHD position that would allow her to continue her love for residential life as she pursued her masters in communication through the university.

“I wouldn’t say it is an easy job, but it is very rewarding because at the end of the day you get to help students,” said Wetterauw.

When she first started her education in media and communication, her dream was to make documentaries. Her capstone project is a documentary on Irish language in America.

“There are a lot of people in America learning it even though no one knows or ever hears of it. There are actually three types of Gaelic,” said Wetterauw.

Another major part of Wetterauw’s life is her Irish culture. She has been step dancing since she was little and has spent countless hours practicing her steps.

“My parents would drive me an hour and a half to dance class. It would be a six or seven hour class depending on my dance teacher’s mood,” said Wetterauw.

She danced for a competitive Irish step school all throughout middle and high school, and even competed in Ireland, as well as worldwide in step competitions.

Today she continues her love for dancing by teaching an Irish step dance class at Sacred Heart.

The group on campus is called the Claddagh Dancers. They compete with traditional steps as well as performing to modern music.

Wetterauw said the group got their name after the
Claddagh ring, which features two hands holding a heart, and is popular in Irish culture. Naming the group after the ring connects Irish culture to Sacred Heart through the image of the heart.

Recently, she was able to demonstrate her dancing for the student body at Dancing with Heart. Her partner and herself came in second place.

She has also embraced her Irish culture by representing her community in heritage competitions.

Wetterauw was the 2014 Washington D.C Rose, which gave her the opportunity to go to Ireland and represent the Irish community in D.C.

Most recently she was elected the 2017 Cherry Blossom Princess of Connecticut.  This competition is an ambassadorship, as well as a leadership program for women and promotes professional development.

“I’m not a pageant queen. I never use the P word. It’s not a beauty pageant,” said Wetterauw.

The competition symbolizes how Japan gave cherry blossoms to the United States and in return gave Japan dogwoods. The event demonstrates the friendship between the two countries.

There is a Cherry Blossom Princess for each state and United States territory. The National Conference of State Societies (NCSS) puts on the competition.

According to the NCSS website, the program has been helping women, ages 19 to 24, since 1948. The Cherry Blossom Princess becomes queen randomly by a wheel. The winner also known as the queen then gets to travel to Japan.

“I don’t think I’ll win, but I am excited,” said Wetterauw.

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