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Student Leaders Connect at Chancellor Grasso’s Pizza Party

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

April Marvin, Staff Writer

Students Jessica Calderon, Temitayo Asuni, and Holly Lalicata talk about student life. Photo//April Marvin

Student organization leaders were welcomed by Chancellor Grasso for a pizza party on Wednesday in Kochoff Hall in the University Center.

Students joined the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Deans, and faculty to connect and network toward a stronger campus. Student org presidents were invited with a plus one for another officer in their group to join.

Grasso spoke on the strengths of the UM-Dearborn campus and community and how impactful UM-Dearborn has been to the University of Michigan family. Grasso explained his role as Chancellor, introduced the faculty leadership in the room, and urged students to get up from their tables and talk to everyone, including him.

“If we have never met, please, come introduce yourself, I want to talk to each of you,” encouraged Grasso.

Chancellor Grasso speaks to student leaders about UM-Dearborn. Photo//April Marvin

Among the attendees for the pizza party, Jessica Calderon, a human resources coordinator for the university and secretary for ANTS (Association of Nontraditional Students), remarked of what an honor it was to be attending this event. Calderon connected with several student leaders and engaged in conversation about their organization and student life in general.

“Learning about other student organizations and networking is great,” said Calderon. “One of my favorite things about UM-Dearborn is the diversity we have!”

Temitayo Asuni, a student member of the African Student Union, talked of how important connecting with others on campus was for herself and her organization. “We work to provide a safe space for African students, many of whom are far away from their homes,” said Asuni. “We want to be their home away from home, so we do things like game nights to stay connected and we are working to introduce ourselves across campus.”

Calderon and Asuni sparked a friendly conversation and were able to bond over fun phone cases and student life.

President of Orphan Relief, Ghadah Abdulshafi, also connected with her fellow student leaders and spoke of her organization’s mission to support orphans. Recently, Orphan Relief saw the impact on not just global outreach, but helping those in need locally, so they have arranged several events, fundraisers, and support for local families, shelters, and adoption agencies.

Graduate Student Penny Kane sits with Ghadah Abdulshafi enjoying refreshments and conversation. Photo//April Marvin

Students mingled with each other and leaders in the room to share their organization’s work and events. Vice Chancellor for External Relations, Ken Kettenbeil, talked about this event being good for campus. “It’s important to connect with administrators and this is an opportunity for students to be able to do that,” commented Kettenbeil.

Director of Information Technology, Strategy and Operations and Chief Information Officer, Carrie Shumaker said, “Events like these are a great time to get to know one another, but we also want students to know they can reach out to us.”

Additionally, Grasso spoke of upcoming plans for a booth in the Renick UC commons area to be manned by himself and other members of the administration. It will be a place where any student can stop to talk, suggest, and connect with campus leadership. Stay tuned for more information!

Students and faculty connect, enjoying pizza and conversation about UM-Dearborn. Photo//April Marvin

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