Fifth Annual Fire Science Banquet Sparks Up One of the Biggest Nights of the Year

Sara McGuire

NEW HAVEN–On Saturday, April 18, the Fire Science Club held its fifth annual banquet at Amarante’s Sea Cliff in New Haven. The event celebrated the achievements of club members, faculty, and the election of the new executive board. With 200 attendees including students, staff, and alumni, this year was the club’s largest attendance yet. The banquet was a huge success, bringing recognition to the club and the subsequent professions that follow a fire science degree from UNH.

Although buses may have been scarce, the wait was worth it upon arrival. The hall was elegantly decorated, served fantastic appetizers, and lacked the usual giant table decorations that make speaking to anyone across the table impossible. For those of an appropriate age, a bar was kept open throughout the evening.

Following appetizers, the evening truly began with an invocation led by club advisor, Professor Marty O’Connor, after which followed dinner. President Chris Rinck welcomed those in attendance and Professor O’Connor once more faced the audience and gave a thoughtful and entertaining greeting before awards were given out and former Vice President Jessica Davis announced the 2009-2010 executive board. Heading into the next school year, the club will be under the leadership of Chris Rinck as President, Vice President Nick Stevens, Treasurer Alex Cardella, Executive Assistant Mike Matseur, and Sergeant-at-Arms Brian Ricci.

As far as awards go, it’s no surprise that Don Zessin received the Club Dedication Award. During the Fire Science Club/Criminal Justice Club hockey game, Don severely injured his arm so much so that he required surgery. He never lost his club spirit, joking around with club members and paramedics alike as he was unceremoniously taken away by an ambulance.

The Chief O’Bier award, known as the club’s MVP award, was given to senior Jessica Davis for her outstanding club involvement. Both the Professor of the Year and Distinguished Service Award went to Professor Robert Massicotte, the Director of the Fire Science Department who will soon be leaving his full-time position. Professor Massicotte is the only professor to have won the Professor of the Year award twice. Honorary membership went to UNH Facilities, who were instrumental in several club events, including the construction of the Burn Box and Docudrama.

Following the awards ceremony, the club’s newly elected executive assistant, Mike Matseur, announced the raffle winners, door prizes, and made the closing statements very vibrantly. Dancing closed the banquet, which was DJ’d by UNH’s very own TJ the DJ.

The banquet, which is open to all students, occurs every spring semester.