Junior fellowship winner to visit Italy

Chronicle Staff


By Daniel Rothberg

In less than one month, Junior Summer Fellowship award winner Jordan Freisleben ’11 will document the aftermath of an earthquake that devastated an Italian town last year.

A fluent Italian speaker, Freisleben plans to interview local officials, residents and spokespeople for advocacy groups about the damage to l’Aquila and Italy’s response to the earthquake.

Freisleben plans on spending about two weeks in the town, and on compiling her findings in an investigative report. In addition, she plans to create a photo essay about the damage to l’Aquila.

The school awards a grant to one junior every year to explore a topic of his or her choosing during the summer before senior year.

Students interested in applying for the grant must submit a proposal that includes a budget, itinerary and a list goals for the project, Freisleben said.

Sixty thousand residents of l’Aquila lost their homes and many medieval structures collapsed during the earthquake, according to BBC News.

“It completely devastated their town,” Freisleben said.

Freisleben believes that the Italian government has focused too little attention on rebuilding l’Aquila. She said that in her proposal she compared the emergency relief effort in l’Aquila to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

“For decades, Abruzzo, the region where l’Aquila is, has been the poorest region in Italy,” Freisleben said. “It lacks in natural resources [and] it lacks in tourism. So when this happened it was not a priority for Italy.”

“I just want to spread awareness and show that people’s lives are ruined,” Freisleben said. “I pretty much want to show people that this didn’t go away, the effects of this are still lingering [and are] really damaging to a whole community of people.”