January 31 marked the day that Shenanigans reopened, but the Student Government Association had more to add to the excitement: Office Hours, casual time spent between faculty and students, is a tradition SGA wants to bring back to the Sewanee campus. The following faculty members were in attendance on Thursday, February 27: Philosophy professors Christopher Conn and Andrew Moser; Economics professors Katherine Theyson, Doug Williams, and Marc St-Pierre; Math professor Doug Drinen; and Dean of Greek Life Hagi Bradley. With a great student turn-out, the night turned into a time for personal conversations and light-hearted laughter.
Oksana Creech (C’17) says, “I thought it was really nice. I really enjoyed getting to know the professors outside of class and learning about their interests.” She shared a conversation with Dr. Conn and Dr. Moser and learned about their hobbies and families, not to mention how they came to be professors in the Philosophy department. As the first step in a greater goal to bring back the same student-professor dynamics that once existed at Sewanee, the first event was a wild success. Each student was given a $2 gift card to pay for their purchases while professors bought drinks on a tab. The conversations flowed easily as Sewanee redefined “Ecce Quam Bonum.”
Bambi Downs (C’80),founder of the women’s Cross-Country team at Sewanee, commentedon the Facebook post on the University of the South page and said, ”This is what took me to Sewanee: walking in the old B.C. while up for a party weekend. Faculty, staff, students sitting, talking. And not about party weekend. Wow. I was impressed.”
An important detail in regards to these interactions is that they can be initiated by anyone. Students can invite professors out for coffee at Stirling’s or for a drink at Shenanigans, and some newcomers may be unaware of the unique Sewanee culture that supports casual conversations between members of the overarching Sewanee community. Most importantly, sharing personal conversations can keep friendships between students, faculty, and staff alive after graduation. Lifelong bonds have been — and still can be — sustained with the kind of care that begins with a relaxed dinner after classes adjourn.
The tradition of these relationships between professors, faculty members, and students is to be rekindled by the office hours offered at Shenanigans on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 5-6 PM.