Alumni panel to explore writing, activism, getting published

Publication Date

Three alumni – Gianluca Avanzato ’18, Andy Cassarino ’18 and Atiba Rougier ’06 – will speak on writing, activism and getting published in a panel set for Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 5 p.m.

Gianluca Avanzato is a writer, poet and linguist from Upstate New York whose work explores home, ancestry, memory, space, stories and language. He recently published a poetry collection, City of the Hill (about his native Oneonta, N.Y.), and several other poems, short stories, and articles. His work has appeared in pacificREVIEW, Coldnoon International Journal of Travel Writing and Traveling Cultures, HEREYOUARE and Constellate Literary Journal.

Andrew Cassarino, a native of Rutland, Vt., studied U.S. history at Union with a focus on race and memory. His previous work has appeared in smaller publications. Botany Bay: Slavery and Social Reform at Union College during the Early Nineteenth Century, which he adapted from his senior thesis, is his first published book. Today, Cassarino is researching the relationship of 19th- and 21st-century “sanctuary cities.” He is pursuing his Vermont State Educator License at Castleton (Vt.) University.

Atiba Rougier, who grew up in the Caribbean and Queens, is a lecturer of anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. A hospice volunteer, he did his research project on what it means to die with dignity and the role vigil plays in the bereavement process. Trained as a philosopher, he describes his anthropological research as fieldwork in philosophy. He has been studying Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, Existentialism and Continental Philosophy for over 15 years.

Zoom link:

The panel is hosted by Young Democratic Socialists for America (YDSA) and Union College Activist Network (UCAN). It is coordinated by Nathalie Gullo ’21.

This event is the first in a series of winter term talks sponsored by the Department of English. Other events include:

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 6 p.m.

Contemporary poet Olivia Gatwood presents a virtual writing workshop: “Reclaiming Shame: The Use of the Ode.” Also sponsored by The Idol and Women’s Union. Coordinated by Lilith Haig ’21.

Thursday Feb 17, 6 p.m.

Faculty book launch with writers from Union’s Department of English. Also sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, the English honorary, and hosted by Sigma Tau Delta student members. Coordinated by Prof. Claire Bracken and Mitchell Famulare ’21.

Wednesday, March 3, 5 p.m.

The inaugural April Selley Memorial Lecture with Nigerian Afro-futurist writer Deji Bryce Olukotun. The lecture honors the memory of April Selley, a devoted teacher and writer who instilled in students her joy of literature and the craft of creative writing. She passed away in 2016. It is coordinated by Prof. Hugh Jenkins and Robyn Reed, associate librarian.