The CSU IP Director’s Message for Flo’n the go Special Edition

The California State University is extraordinarily proud of its long history in Florence. We believe that the CSU Florence Center is unique in its continued commitment to having our students spend an entire academic year in Florence and require the study of Italian as a part of their academic program. The CSU has always hoped to be a member of the Florence community. From the beginning, that collaboration has been a mutual benefit.

During our first year of existence in Florence, in1966, our students were among those who volunteered to help as the city recovered from the devastating effects of the floods. More recently our students have benefited from the opportunity to serve through internships with the Regione Toscana, Flo’n the go, Vista magazine, Uffizi (with Giovanna Giusti), and a local legal studio. CSUFI students participate in community volunteer activities and teaching support in local Italian schools, Caritas (soup kitchen, elderly homes, multicultural children’s play group), Corri La Vita, Rotary Club Student Ambassador project (Angeli per un giorno), Elementary School Istituto Suore Calasanziane & Middle School Dino Compagni teaching and conversation exchanges with the families of these schools.

CSU students who have studied in Florence have been immeasurably enriched by their experience. Our students participate in studies in Architecture, Art History, History and Classics, Italian Literature, Political Science, and Studio Art. Our Studio Art program is arranged in cooperation with the Accademia delle Belle Arti. Students with strong Italian may take classes at the University of Florence.
The architecture program has collaborated with the University of Florence, the University of Camerino in Ascoli Piceno and their COAST2COAST workshops since 2001, Elba Island, the city of Livorno and the city of Filottrano. The Architecture program has participated in competitions and national shows including the Venice Architecture Biennale. CSUFI has edited several books about the different architectural projects studied in the Labs. Special lectures are organized bringing famous Italian or international architects at CSUFI.

Students in the Studio Art concentration study at the Accademia delle Belle Arti. Every May we have a show with the works of these students and their Italian Accademia classmates at the CSU or galleria Via Larga. Summer Arts has been a summer exchange between the CSU and the Accademia. Every second year a painting and drawing art (one month) session is organized at CSUFI. An opportunity for Italian students to visit the CSU in California has also been provided. Concerts with famous performers are also part of the Summer Arts program. As an example Eliot Fisk performed for Arte Sensa Confini in June 2007.

The CSU is looking forward to its continuing place in the community of Florence. A special thank you to Flo’n the go and Strozzi Partners for their sponsorship of this project.

Leo Van Cleve