By Emily Schultz

Special to the Denisonian

The first Senior Social Hour took place in The Roost last Thursday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. The goal is to eventually host this gathering of senior students and faculty members once a month, for the sole purpose of bringing the community together to enjoy beverages and good conversation.

Jeremy King, the Campus Sustainability Coordinator, created the idea of this Senior Social Hour with Assistant Professor of Political Science Mike Brady. Together, they approached the senior class co-governors, Shawn Whites and Kasey Hoare, about bringing their idea to life.

King said, “Last year, we all heard a lot about issues of general overconsumption of alcohol by students at Denison. We ultimately came to the conclusion that we should try to create an opportunity for faculty, staff and seniors to come together in a social setting where having a drink or two is acceptable. We shared our idea of community building with Dr. Laurel Kennedy, and she thought it was a good idea.”

Co-governor Kasey Hoare, a French major from Annapolis, Md., said, “I think it’s great to facilitate more conversation. A lot of times, you only have access to your professors in a classroom setting, so having this outside interaction with them is going to be really good.” Her counterpart, Whites, is an English major from Galio, Ohio. Whites added, “Even Sodexo liked the idea, because the Roost isn’t utilized nearly enough. The whole idea is just to come, mingle with faculty, spend time with your buddies, and share a beer.”

The event had a large turnout. Over 50 people were counted as present by 5:30 p.m. Sodexo employee Janet Rector was thrilled to see the normally empty space put to such great use. Rector explained, “I’d love to see more kids come up and utilize the space. I hope that this event encourages students to visit the Roost more frequently. It is certainly packed tonight!”

According to senior and former student body president Hannah Frank, “One of the most inspiring things about my experience with DCGA has been the emergence of new ideas.” Frank is an English and educational studies double major from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Frank continued, “To watch this idea come to fruition over the course of the last semester while gathering support from students, staff, faculty, and administration was an inspiring reminder of the power of community.” It was clear the faculty and staff had indeed supported the event, as history professor Catherine Dollard put it, “Right now it seems like there is a great representation of faculty and staff from all over Denison. It is nice to have social moments with the community.”

Not only were the faculty pleased with the turnout, but senior Emma Sullivan, a creative writing major from Phoenix, Ariz., also commented, “This is such a great idea. We are making great connections, and I like spending time with my professors in an informal setting.”

Vice President of Student Development Laurel Kennedy was responsible for giving her stamp of approval in regard to the Senior Social Hour. Kennedy shared, “I think this is a chance for us to begin to celebrate the seniors as they move toward graduation. We just have a couple more months with them on campus. I am excited that we get to spend this last semester getting together once a month in a more social environment.” She continued, “We are acknowledging that they are adults going into the world, and we are enjoying their company.”

Underclassmen were pleased to observe the seniors and professors engaging in lighthearted, informal conversation. The Senior Social Hour promoted themes of building and strengthening the community on campus, and is helping make steps toward creating positive change on campus.