Good food and new friends – that’s what a pasta dinner hosted and catered by Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell during Senior Week was all about.
526 Pasta, which was held at Union Sports Annex on May 13, was orchestrated as a way to help a group of senior students in their effort to meet as many new people as they could before graduation.
In the fall, Phil Parisi, Chris Malliet, James McKenna and Rachel Witt – all seniors in the Opus College of Engineering – began hosting pasta dinners every Friday night. Each week, more and more people started showing up, and the group soon decided to use the pasta socials to meet 526 new people.
The number 526 reflects not only the address of the apartment the male students share, but the very specific time at which the dinners kicked off.
As of April, the group had tallied just over 300 visitors – a number tracked by guests signing their names on a large piece of paper hung on a wall in the apartment.
So how did the final 526 Pasta event of the year fare?
According to McKenna, about 65 new names were added to the list, bringing the grand total to just over 400 guests for the year.
Even though the group didn’t reach their initial goal, McKenna said the endeavor is still something to smile about and celebrate.
“We started with a small group of people, and that group just kept growing throughout the year. The number of people that we have met and talked with throughout the year because of 526 Pasta is definitely way beyond what we had imagined when this first started. We have built some really strong friendships with others through 526 Pasta, and I’m sure those will continue past graduation.”
The year may be coming to a close, McKenna added, but 526 Pasta is technically not done.
Courtney Tarnow, he said, who will be a senior in Klingler College of Arts and Sciences this coming fall, will be taking over the pasta pastime and already has the list of names up on her wall.