Ken Stier

Trumbull sophomores will soon have a new opportunity to spend time with their favorite professors outside of class at dinner in their residential college.

With the help of the Yale College Council, the Trumbull College Council will be hosting a new event later this semester to give sophomores the opportunity to grab a meal with a professor on the college’s dime. This event is a part of the YCC’s Meals with Faculty initiative, which the YCC hopes will make meeting with professors beyond office hours an easier and more accessible experience for Yalies.

According to Steven Orientale ’21, the YCC senator in charge of the initiative, Yale does not currently offer a college-wide Meals with Faculty program. Other peer institutions, like Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, already have a similar program, Orientale added.

While tenured professors at Yale are able to have lunch in the dining halls for free, many students are unaware of this and thus do not take the opportunity to have a meal with their instructor, Orientale said. He added that students may also often feel shy about asking professors to have a meal together.

“Professors in some classes do invite students to meals, whether it be in the dining hall or off-campus,” said Orientale. “But the accessibility is not always there which is why the [Meals with Faculty] project can help break down the barrier.”

TCC’s event will be funded by the Yale College Dean’s Office, which allocated funds to each residential college to use on programs for sophomores earlier this year. Each residential college can separately decide what to do with these funds, according to Orientale.

Yale College Dean Marvin Chun expressed that he wanted to “enhance the sophomore class community and spirit” within each college.

“For most colleges, this is the only class that is fully in residence, and so sophomore-specific events will help them more feel connected with each other and with their home colleges,” Chun said.

TCC President Seamus Houlihan ’19 said that although Trumbull’s meal event is still in the works, TCC is hoping to host it this semester and model it after Davenport’s “Take Your Professor to Dinner” night.

Davenport’s dinners happen once a semester and are funded by the Davenport College Council budget. A Google sign-up form is sent out to all students in the college to estimate the number of participants. The form asks for the name of the professor the student would like to bring, and if other Davenport students will be joining their conversation. Students then invite the professors to come to Davenport for dinner that night. First years through seniors, living both on-campus and off-campus, are able to participate.

“It’s a good way for people to establish a one-on-one connection with a professor, which may otherwise be difficult,” said DCC co-president Edward Gelernt ’20.

The age-old Davenport event has received a great response rate and has been popular with students in the past years, according to Orientale.

Although other colleges such as Grace Hopper and Branford also have similar programs, the majority of colleges at Yale do not have such an event. Orientale said that YCC is looking to expand this program to all colleges and all class years in the future.

Almost three-quarters of respondents to the YCC Fall 2017 Survey agreed that they would utilize a college-wide program that facilitates one-on-one or small-group meals between students and professors.

Queenie Huang |