YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Mark Pompeo and Jenna DeLuca are seniors at Youngstown State University and both are involved in the Italian program.

The major is one of 26 being cut.

“I thought the only thing I could do was start a petition. Hopefully, that means something or makes something happen, or if it would — but we could try,” DeLuca, who is a senior Italian major, said.

She started the petition last Friday and said the Italian program is important because Italian culture is integral to the Youngstown area.

“Not only that, but the younger generations have lost a lot of that culture, they’ve lost the language and so it only makes sense to have it here so we can keep that alive,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca and Pompeo are studying Italian, among other things, and by having a language in their education, it helps open doors for their future careers. They also feel bad for future students and faculty impacted by the loss of these programs.

“A lot of different skills that people are neglecting to focus on because they don’t see the value in having a foreign language, even though it’s proven time and time again that having those skills and having those thinking patterns will help in development,” Pompeo, who is an Italian minor and president of the Italian Club, said.

Pompeo is majoring in human resources but said having the Italian background will help him achieve his goals.

“I know it’ll help my career, help me think on a more global perspective in other majors. It’s good to have that cognitive, problem-solving background because it does improve brain function,” Pompeo said.

DeLuca hopes to get a couple hundred to 1,000 signatures on the petition and when she feels comfortable, she’s going to present it to the university’s administration in hopes that they reverse their decision.

“Just because of the importance it has in this city,” DeLuca said.