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New program allows students to dine with faculty members

A new Ohio State program invites students to learn more about particular fields of study by eating lunch with a faculty member.

Food for Thought, a program created by the Office of Student Life, provides an outlet for students to learn more about careers in their major in a casual atmosphere.

“It was a joint idea through the CFO and Student Life to think about how we might help students have an opportunity to spend more time with their faculty members in a more relaxed setting,” said Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston. “We are looking to provide an educational experience using food as the means (to) bring people together.”

Food for Thought started the third week of this quarter and is open to current undergraduate and graduate students and faculty members. Students can participate in Food for Thought by making a reservation online on the Office of Student Life website.

Food for Thought has had about 40 reservations out of 45 openings in the first three weeks, Adams-Gaston said.

With a reservation for Food for Thought, students can eat a free lunch at Sloopy’s Diner in the Ohio Union. Students and the faculty member of choice may order one entrée and one drink for free.

Adams-Gaston said Sloopy’s Diner was the perfect place for this program.

“It started for convenience and we knew we could get reservations into Sloopy’s,” Adams-Gaston said. “It is a central location and it is easy for faculty and students to meet there.”

As Food for Thought is free for students and faculty, the program costs the university on average $6 per person for each reservation, Adams-Gaston said.

Reservations for Food for Thought have a maximum party of four people, with a minimum of one faculty member included.

Mauriell Amechi, a graduate student in higher education, used Food for Thought and had lunch with Vice Provost Chief Diversity Officer Valerie Lee for a class project.

“I wanted to personally do this interview for a class project so I thought it would be good to establish a relationship with this person over lunch,” Amechi said.

Amechi said Food for Thought not only fulfilled a class requirement, but also helped him learn more about Lee’s career field.

“That was basically my objective, to learn more about her transition into the field,” Amechi said. “I wanted to know what it took to pursue that position.”

Caitlin Clifton, a first-year in international studies, said she had not heard of Food for Thought but liked the idea.

“I think it is an awesome idea, especially if you do not know what you’re interested in,” Clifton said.

Amechi said he would recommend Food for Thought to other students.

“It is a good way to build professional networks on campus,” Amechi said.

Adams-Gaston said she hopes the program will continue to grow and that students will use the program to their advantage.

“We hope this is another avenue for students to have an ongoing conversation with their faculty members. We hope it will grow and faculty will use it,” Adams-Gaston said.

Reservations for Food for Thought can be made for Sloopy’s Diner Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m., noon, or 12:30 p.m. You can make a reservation by going to studentlife.osu.edu/secure/foodforthought/. Reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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