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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

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Student group spotlight on C4

Alyssa Savadelis, a fourth-year undergraduate biology major and chemistry and art minor, has always found solace within the expansive confines of an art studio.

When she decided to go to Case Western Reserve University to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor instead of enrolling in a formal art school, she sought to carve out a niche that would nurture her creative spirit.

Savadelis has been the president of the Coalition for Collaboration and Conversation and Creativity, also known as C4, since its official establishment in the spring of 2010 during her freshman year.

“I think the reason why I made C4 was because it didn’t fit in at the time,” Savadelis said.

“We are trying to enhance the creative and inspirational presence on campus while offering an artistic outlet, and provide an opportunity to participate in community service,” she said.

In the four years since its beginning, C4 has accomplished nearly everything it has set out to do. However, the point of C4 is not to be on any kind of agenda; its purpose is to cater to any of the creative souls at CWRU who are searching ways to ease stress with an open mind.

“I felt I was grasping for anything with art when I came here,” she said. “I really wanted to have the opportunity to do cooking and art across the board – sculpture, multi-media, painting, drawing, photo shoots – really just anything that caught our fancy,” she said when talking about the club.

The direction of C4 is determined freely by its members. They do everything from a biannual Iron Chef cook-off and Jackson Pollack-inspired splatter paintings to simply repurposing trash by spray painting pieces of recycled wooden crates.

Savadelis was inspired to wrap a community service flair around the mission of C4 during her freshman year through her involvement with Center for Civic Engagement and Learning and the Progressive Art Alliance (PAA), which allows children who lack access to art education to experience the power of art. “When my stay [at the PAA] ended, I didn’t want that relationship to end,” she said.

C4 has been saving the money raised from selling its culinary and aesthetic creations for the PAA, with a plan to make a whole donation by the end of this year.

“The first real event we ever did was the Iron Chef cook-off,” she said, which took place in the fall of 2010 and has occurred each semester since. “We bought a whole bunch of food and [each team] had one secret ingredient.”

“It’s a fun, laid back thing we try to do every semester,” she said. The winning recipe the first year was a barbeque pizza made with dark cocoa in the tomato sauce, beating another team’s desert ravioli with Nutella and nuts. “We have the winning recipes saved up and we plan on making a small cookbook and handing it out,” she said.

The club was established with 10 members and has only grown to 16 in a total of three and half years, but that does not bother Savadelis too much, since she’ll be leaving C4 and CWRU after graduation this spring.

“The club is pretty small in general, but that’s kind of part of the charm,” she said. “If the next person wants to take the club elsewhere, that’s the beauty of it. It’s supposed to be changing with the different people involved every year,” she said. “The main purpose was to have a creative outlet and not be wedded to one thing. It’s really whatever that group of people finds relaxing and creative.”

The club doesn’t meet regularly and nothing is mandatory, aside from the annual planning event, and being artistically inclined is not a requirement. According to Savadelis, everyone brings something interesting to the club, regardless of their skills or experience.

“There really aren’t any mandatory events. It’s really cool because you know the people are coming because they want to come,” she said. “I hope the next person who takes over will make it a little bigger and make it more available to everyone.”

C4 was a group identified by the Student Leadership Journey Council as one that exemplifies hands-off leadership, allowing the members to take an active role in the direction of the club and its impact on the CWRU community.

To suggest a CWRU undergraduate student organization that makes a difference, keeps things interesting, or often goes unnoticed, visit The Observer website.

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