Illinois State student Gino Richardson attended the NIAF conference in Washington, D.C.

Illinois State student Tyler Gino Richardson received the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) On Campus Fellowship to attend the gala and conference in Washington, D.C., over the first weekend of November.

Richardson is an Italian studies minor and the president of Illinois State’s Italian club, La Tavola. This fellowship is open to U.S. college students of Italian descent who hold a leadership position in the Italian club of their university and are pursuing a major or minor in Italian. Richardson was sponsored by Jessica Sciubba, instructional assistant professor of Italian and faculty advisor for Illinois State’s Italian club, who introduced him to NIAF.

Upon his return, Richardson described his experience:

Tyler Gino Richardson poses with another NIAF attendee during the conference.

“After arriving in D.C. on Friday, NIAF held its annual on-campus conference. Twenty-nine other students from around the country and I exchanged ideas on how to better serve our communities while promoting growth for Italian programs and clubs at our respective universities. We had the opportunity to meet many Italian-American business executives and politicians. The gala was on Saturday, and there were about 1,500 people. We got to listen to live performances and speakers while eating food that was prepared by some of the best chefs in the country!”

Richardson looks forward to implementing the ideas that he brought home from this conference to enhance events for Italian studies minors and everyone taking part in La Tavola at Illinois State. La Tavola’s mission is to celebrate Italian culture in a variety of ways, including food, music, painting, and language. Everyone is welcome. For more information about La Tavola, see the Facebook page or find the club on Instagram.