The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government (USG) hosted a luncheon in the Student Union for faculty and undergraduate students to attend in an effort to form closer connections with each other, which they are unable to normally do in a large lecture hall or classroom.
USG President Priyanka Thakkar spoke at the luncheon of the importance of undergraduate students and faculty forming connections.
“The merit of our education is about delivery and quality,” Thakkar said. “Both of which are successful because of our UConn faculty who help enhance both these facets in and outside the classroom. Most importantly it is about the cohesiveness that happens in classes that inspire students to create, solve, and innovate.”
Professors in attendance included Thomas Abbott, Amy Howell, Mike Shor, Kevin Thompson, Nejat Olgac and Colleen Spurling.
Amanda McNeil, a fourth-semester biological sciences major, said she was participating in the event to form a stronger bond with her professor.
“My [organic chemistry] professor Amy Howell is here and I love her so much, but it’s awkward just to talk to her because you can’t just speak in her class because it’s too full,” McNeil said.
Quyen Le, a fourth-semester molecular and cell biology major, said she hopes to now be able to converse with her professor on a first-name basis.
“I want to get closer to my professor but I’m so awkward,” Le said. “So I would love to just have lunch and talk and chill.”
Madison Sidmore, a fourth-semester accounting major said she wanted to break the ice and get to know her professors.
“I feel like I’m really shy so I don’t usually speak up in lectures or talk to them after, and I have a busy schedule so I can’t go to office hours,” Sidmore said. “I feel like if there was any time to get to know your professors, now was a good opportunity,”
Students and faculty were given conversation starter ideas on small pieces of paper at each table, with conversational cues such as “Why did you choose your field?” or “Was the college you attended like UConn, why or why not?”
Professor Amy Howell said she felt it is important to get to know her students.
“I just like to let students know that I’m interested in getting to know them and this was just another opportunity to do it,” Howell said.
Mechanical Engineering Professor Bryan Weber joked that besides being incentivized by the free food, he was there to “step out from behind the podium” and talk to students, describing the experience of getting to know his students as “rewarding”.
Amanda Kilyk is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at email@example.com.