GATOR CHAMPS: GINA PANZETTA
Updated: Jul 30
LEFT: Gina and husband, Angelo Panzetta (Men's Soccer Coach at Allegheny College)
While a typical school year at Allegheny College is filled with ongoing activities and events organized by different departments and student groups, this year all that got cut short. Yet, this shouldn't mean that the fun should come to an end, right?
For most folks stuck at home in quarantine, passing time has meant seeking or creating your entertainment. But, while we are watching the umpteenth reality TV show or Netflix movie, swaying, mesmerized by an online concert, or playing (mind) games with friends and family from a safe distance, we are all too aware that this is nothing compared to the fun and variety of Allegheny College activities in a typical academic year.
A familiar face when it comes to helping students plan programming and campus involvement is Gina Panzetta in the Student Involvement Office. She is the part time secretary for Student Leadership and Involvement and loves when she's called on to judge events like SAMS, Man of the Year, and Greek Sing. You can see her petite frame whizzing around the Campus Center (CC) as she checks boards to make sure the flyer posting policies aren't being violated, and then, like a hummingbird, she's in and out of rooms, checking that everything is place. Want to book a space in the CC lobby for tabling, she's the go-to-person for that. Have a question about how to reserve a room in the CC or plan the display materials for your program, she's a life saver. Want a shoulder to cry on because you're having a tough day, you get the drift....
Gina also helps her colleagues coordinate the annual Involvement Fair in the fall semester. It's a place where a lot of incoming students get their first taste of the different opportunities that Allegheny offers. Last year there was a 'circus' theme and the mood was festive as Chompers, the Gator Mascot tried to keep out of the way of artists on stilts weaving between the displays set up by different offices and clubs on campus. This is the fun and 'craziness' that Gina misses now that the hallways are silent and the planning for the new semester is happening from behind screens.
Although working with students is one of the most enjoyable aspects of her job, Gina has treasured being able to spend more quality time with her family because of the lockdown. When being a source of light and laughter is a part of the job, it’s easy to take that home with you. Both Gina and her husband -- soccer coach Angelo Panzetta -- love the Italian tradition of bringing extended family together, and there have been many nights filled with love and laughter because of shared family TV time!
I think we all have a show that comes to mind when we think of something that we can sit and watch forever, and Gina is amused that her daughter has taken a liking to the “Kardashian salad.” If there is one chink in Gina's armor, it's her daughter. Now that her daughter is getting ready for college, Gina's worries have multiplied. After all, she sees college life up close and knows the good, the bad, and the unrepeatable all too well. LOL.
But on the positive side, the Panzetta family has used their time together to focus on staying healthy in body and mind. Along with the eating healthy, specifically trying that Kardashian salad, exercising is also something they plan to keep up with even after life slips into the new 'normal'.
In wrapping up, Gina had some final words for the Allegheny Community, “Hang in there," she urged earnestly. "There will be a light at the end of the tunnel!”
~~ Interview by Kylie Rimes (Class of '23)
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