Most college students are enticed by the words “free” and “food” paired together, but Class Council’s Second Year Dinner Series is more than just a free meal.
The series is an opportunity for second-year students to share a catered meal with professors and get to know the figures speaking to them from the front of lecture halls.
Second-year College student Diane D’Costa, the Second Year Dinner Series chair, hopes students will fully take advantage of the opportunity they have been given through the series.
“Professors have all this knowledge to share, but they’re so underutilized outside the classroom, so I thought [the dinner series] was an awesome opportunity,” D’Costa said. “I’m hoping there will be conversations that I could never expect.”
A 13-year-old tradition, the series includes five dinners over the course of a year. Each dinner has a theme to spark conversation, and a selected professor speaks for 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of the evening on the topic.
The theme for Tuesday’s dinner, the first of the series, is “inspiration,” and Commerce Prof. Sherri Moore will be the keynote speaker.
“I will be talking about the importance of creating a positive attitude,” Moore said in an email. “My hope is to convey how precious life is, and with this in mind, how important it is to be aware of our individual power to ‘create a good day’ through our perception of life's challenges.”
In the past, Moore has been a guest at the dinner series.
“I have always enjoyed the time spent with students and also learned a great deal from the various speakers,” Moore said.
D’Costa said it is important to hold the series during students’ second year, as this is a transformative period for students.
“Now is when we’re thinking about majors and thinking about applying to different schools,” D’Costa said. “[This time is] so specific and unique to second years.”
During this pivotal year, the series gives second-year students the opportunity to sit alongside professors who are knowledgeable in their various fields. Students can sit with professors with whom they share similar passions, who have forged inspirational career paths or who provide enriching perspectives from their respective areas of expertise.
“My favorite professor right now is Eileen Chou — she teaches Introduction to Civic Leadership in the Batten School and she is so cool,” D’Costa said. “She just has so much knowledge, and it’s about what I’m super passionate about, which is leadership.”
The students planning Tuesday’s dinner expect the event to draw 160 second-year students, who will dine with 50 University professors. The event and future dinners in the series aim to uphold the Jeffersonian ideal of living and learning together.
“I always look forward to opportunities like the Second Year Dinner Series that allow me to get to know students better,” Moore said. “I enjoy learning about their backgrounds, their interests and their goals. As an alum, I also enjoy sharing our love of U.Va.”