WKU Department of English Hosts Meet-and-Greet for Students and Faculty
- Joseph Shoulders
- Wednesday, September 9th, 2020
On Friday, September 4th, the WKU English Department held a socially distanced meet-and-greet under the Potter College of Arts & Letters tent. The meet-and-greet followed the fourth annual English Majors Convocation, hosted via Zoom by the WKU Department of English. The Convocation is an opportunity for students and faculty to connect with one another, and the English Department made sure this aspect of the event could still happen even in these strange times. After the Convocation ended at 4 pm, students and faculty headed to the PCAL tent and chatted together for an hour.
The meet-and-greet event provided students the opportunity to talk to professors they hadn’t seen since previous semesters, and professors were able to meet new students and learn about their interests, share stories, and have a few laughs. The chance to socialize was cherished after these many months of stress and isolation. Student Catherine Sheffield shared her joy for this event, explaining, “I got to talk to and see everyone that I haven’t seen in real life in probably seven months. It was nice to come up here and relax…just a chance to slow down.”
The meet-and-greet is one example of how the English Department is keeping its community alive right now. Professors noted how hard they’ve been working over the summer and the beginning of the semester to provide as many opportunities as they can, and according to the students, their work has paid off. Student Adrianna Waters voiced, “When I talk to some of my non-English major friends, I can tell the difference between what our department is doing.” She added, “I think [the English professors] have done a great job of keeping us all connected and providing as many opportunities as they can.”
These faculty-inspired opportunities were designed to generate excitement among the attendees at the meet-and-greet. Even during an uncertain semester, students discussed their classes, internships, campus work, and club memberships with optimism. Graduate student Sarah Olive stated, “It seems like we’re expanding some of our extracurriculars.” English Salons, which will be similar to a book club but without the homework, is an example of some of the new opportunities for students to meet outside of class.
Members of the English Department consider themselves fortunate to be in a community that is doing everything it can to make this semester feel as normal as possible. A large contributor to this feeling is the availability of events like the meet-and-greet. Other departments need these opportunities, too, especially now. Dr. Trini Stickle has been advertising these events to her students in other majors. She said, “I like to remind the student body that they can come to these events even if they are not English majors. It might get them connected to a student group, an activity, or a minor.”
Along with the English Majors Convocation and meet-and-greet, another contributing factor to the English Department’s sense of community is the students. When asked about the community, Department Head Dr. Alison Langdon had this to say: “One of the things that I’ve noticed in the classes that I teach is that students seem to have this ‘We’re in this together’ mentality, so I actually think that even though we might not be near each other as much physically, there is a sense of coming together that is really neat to see.”