Catherine Scibetta is a senior from Birmingham, AL studying art history. She is the University Program Council president, a teaching assistant and a program assistant for the Alabama Prison Arts & Education Project.
What made you choose Auburn?
I didn’t originally choose Auburn. My top school choices resided up North and out West, but as I toured schools, I realized that none of them contained the kind of warmth and genuine atmosphere that Auburn does. On one of my scholar’s weekends at a school up North, I found myself talking only about Auburn to the students who were housing me, and that’s when I knew I was going to choose Auburn.
What has your experience with UPC been like?
I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been extraordinarily challenging. UPC has undergone an enormous amount of restructuring and growth in the last three years that I have been lucky enough to see and take part in. While it may not look like it from the outside, we are a completely different organization now than we were when I started my freshman year. It truly has been a life altering experience. I have gained an incredible amount of professional experience that is applicable to almost any job I could seek in the future. Also, it is certainly worth mentioning, I have found some of my greatest friends within UPC. There is something about our community that fosters an atmosphere of authenticity that you really can’t beat.
What is your goal for the organization this year and in years to come?
My biggest personal goal for the organization is for us to turn more towards the educational aspect in our core values. I have always appreciated the amazing duality that the organization presents by being an entertainer (not to mention a space for relaxing and increasing mental health) and also seeking to provide the students with new educational opportunities. That comes in many forms such as speakers, films, cultural events, etc. I feel personally imbued with the responsibility to at least encourage a few Auburn students, if not more, to venture outside of the Auburn bubble that we all know is there. College is a time to learn and expand your horizons, and I want UPC to become a more influential part of the educational aspect of the Auburn experience.
What is your favorite memory you’ve made with UPC?
This past spring, UPC and BSU hosted an event called “Food for Thought” with a topic focus on diversity and inclusion at our university. We had just chosen our new staff for the coming year and decided to make the event mandatory so they could experience the conversation and join in on the dialogue. The event went beautifully. There was a wonderful amount of respectful and positive dialogue that left everyone feeling like we could make a difference. While we only scratched the surface of the problems we face, we introduced the issues to many people that were otherwise unaware. When the event ended, I had several new staff members thank me for requiring them to come, because they learned a new perspective they wouldn’t have otherwise. It is small things like that that keep me passionate about the impact UPC can have on students.
What impact does UPC have on the student body?
We are most commonly known as the organization with the ‘big concerts’ or something along those lines and I won’t deny that that is definitely a part of what we do. We entertain and we provide atmospheres for students to have fun. As simple and maybe even as trivial as that sounds, these kinds of events encourage students to take a break and enjoy something they wouldn’t have otherwise. We give students a place to build new relationships and try new things. I think UPC has a huge impact on the student body whether people know it or not. We are providing an outlet or a distraction, if you will, for students that are stressed, struggling with mental health, or even lonely. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I feel we have a responsibility to use our platform to educate the campus in any way we can.
What is your favorite way to relax in Auburn?
I absolutely love to read. Last year, during the stress of fall semester, I decided to start rereading the Harry Potter series. I would block out time for myself every day – whether it was at work, during office hours, or in between classes – to read Harry Potter and just escape for a little bit. That kept me going. I generally try to keep a good book or two on me at all times so when I have the time, I can slip away for a few minutes and read. I’m not sure if this is true or not, but ever since I was a kid I’ve been saying “6 minutes of reading reduces stress levels by 50%”. Who knows where I got that, but I still say it to this day and I really believe it.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
My current plan, which is subject to change at any moment, is to pursue a law degree with a focus on criminal justice and social change. After that, who knows, I like to keep my options open. My plans are always going to change as I do.
Written by Hayley Wright
Last modified: 12/01/2016