The spirit of Angelina Rose Malfitano lives on.
The Prytanean Women’s Honor Society will host a car wash on Saturday to raise money for a memorial scholarship fund in honor of Malfitano, a UC Davis student who passed away in spring 2006.
“This annual car wash is our tradition of honoring her life and what she stood for, and to encourage people to have a similar passion for life,” said Jenna Templeton, Prytanean Fundraising Chair in an e-mail interview.
The car wash will be next to SaveMart at Anderson Plaza, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“It is a free car wash, but almost everyone donates anywhere from $2 to $20,” Templeton said. “We are relying on donations to make this fundraiser possible, and anything, even change in your pockets, will be gratefully accepted.”
May 30, 2006 marked the loss of a remarkable young woman. Malfitano was on her way back to Davis from her home town of Antioch when a fatal car accident took her life. That evening, she had been scheduled to be presented with a Chancellor’s Award of Merit at a campus ceremony.
The 22-year-old senior was only a few weeks away from graduating with a double bachelor of arts in political science and women and gender studies. Malfitano was highly involved in many different activities and inserted herself into the center of the school community upon arrival at UC Davis.
She was a student assistant to the chancellor, a community intern for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, a Unitrans bus driver, a drummer for the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh!, a Prytanean Women’s Honor Society member and chair of the ASUCD Gender & Sexuality Commission.
The scholarship, established in 2006, is just part of the legacy that Malfitano left at home and at UC Davis.
“Her scholarship fund was created in order to honor young people who personify the values and goals that Angelina found such enthusiasm for,” said ASUCD Senator Rebecca Schwartz. “It is incredibly fitting, because Angelina was an inspiring, influential and dedicated person.”
Her memory still lives on throughout the UC Davis campus. On Thursday, the ASUCD Senate passed a resolution to rename the ASUCD Conference Room after Malfitano. She is also remembered by the family and friends she left behind.
Schwartz met Malfitano in 2006 when she worked under her as an intern to the Student Assistant to the Chancellor. She continues to think of Malfitano daily and of the impression she left behind.
“Angelina was the most inclusive, bubbly, friendly, sincere person I have met at Davis,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz said that Malfitano always promoted and lived by her motto “TANG,” which stood for “Take care of yourself, Ask questions, No regrets, [be] Genuine.”
“She was an extraordinary person and has impacted the lives of so many students, even today, that she never knew,” Schwartz said.
The last time they talked, Malfitano mentioned her plans to move to Los Angeles for the Teach for America program after graduation, Schwartz said. Although Malfitano was never able to participate in the program, she influenced Avani Patel, a 2007 UC Davis alumna, to follow her would-be footsteps and join Teach for America.
“Angelina … was an amazing individual that changed the lives of so many in her short life,” said Patel in an e-mail interview. “Without her guidance and support, it is likely that my graduating class of 8th graders would have remained teacherless throughout a crucial year in their young education.”
Malfitano also made a profound impact in her professional life. Sheri Atkinson, director of the LGBT Resource Center, worked with Malfitano when she was an intern at the LGBT Resource Center.
“To have lost a person that had done so much good work and who would have continued to have a huge impact in this world was devastating,” said Atkinson in an e-mail interview.
She remembers Malfitano’s positive energy and strong passion toward social justice issues.
“She was always committed to making the campus and the world a better place for underrepresented and underserved people,” Atkinson said. “She had the most far-reaching impact in Davis that I have ever seen.… Her funeral in Antioch had over 1,000 people from all over California, which I think is a testament of how many lives she impacted.”
Atkinson said she believes that the scholarship created on Malfitano’s behalf is very fitting toward her memory.
“Supporting students who embodied her spirit and passion for activism and social justice is a way to carry on her legacy,” Atkinson said.
For more information on contributing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or the Angelina Rose Malfitano Memorial Scholarship Fund, care of Percy D. McGee, Jr. at Merrill Lynch, 1111 Broadway, 22nd Floor, Oakland, CA 94607, (510) 280-3800.
APPLE LOVELESS can be reached at email@example.com.