Smells of pierogi: club joins campus

By Megan Witos

To celebrate Święconka, the Polish take egg painting to a whole new level with their highly detailed and intricate designs.

Pierogi and kielbasa aren’t just for Daly’s anymore: Rider has officially approved the Polish Club as a multicultural organization on campus.

On Tuesday, the club joined the ranks of other multicultural organizations such as the German Club and the French Club. The idea for a Polish Club came to fruition by President Monica Swietlik, a junior accounting and finance major, and Vice President Annette Frankowski, a sophomore accounting major, who recognized Rider’s need for an organization that represented the Polish community on campus.

Swietlik noticed Rider’s lack of a Polish club during her college search.

“It was a big factor for me when I was considering this school,” she said. “Other schools in New Jersey have a Polish club like Princeton, Rutgers and TCNJ.”

A mutual friend introduced Frankowski and Swietlik to each other because of their cultural similarities. The pair hopes to help bring other Polish students together through the new club.

“You want to connect with people from your culture,” Swietlik said. “I speak Polish. I read and write Polish. I’m 100 percent [Polish]. I wanted to connect with other students.”

Members of the new club will have that chance as the group hopes to participate in activities with other Polish clubs nationwide. One opportunity to meet students from other universities is the Polish Student Organization Conference, an annual conference that is held at a different university every year, according to Swietlik.

Polish students on campus such as Brittany Demcovitz, a junior English education major, are already expressing an interest in participating.

“I think it’s a really cool idea,” Demcovitz said. “Being Polish is a big part of my life, and to hang out with other Polish people on campus would be a neat idea.”

This opportunity is not limited; Frankowski and Swietlik stressed that the Polish Club is inviting students of all cultures to come to the meetings.

“You do not have to be Polish to join,” Swietlik said. “Our purpose is to inform Rider students about Poland and its culture and language.”

Students will learn about a variety of Polish traditions through the activities the club has planned, such as a Polish Christmas party and “Święconka,” an Easter tradition involving egg painting. Another event the club hopes to host is “Smingus Dyngus,” a celebration on Easter Monday when boys typically throw water on girls, according to Swietlik.

On a larger scale, Frankowski and Swietlik want to have a Polish Day celebration for all of Rider, which would include Polish food such as kielbasa, pierogi and pastries.

Frankowski and Swietlik have also expressed an interest for the club to participate in the Pulaski Day Parade in New York, which marches down Fifth Avenue.

The Polish Club plans to hold meetings on Tuesday evenings, but has yet to figure out an exact starting date. Swietlik encourages those who are interested to keep an eye out for fliers around campus.

Students who are would like to join the club or who would like more information can contact Swietlik at swietlikm@rider.edu.

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