Student-faculty conversations highlight Global Neighborhood house dinner
Students living in Elon's newest residential neighborhood met Nov. 5 to consider tough issues related to the Holocaust.
Almost 200 students and faculty members met for international cuisine and thoughtful conversation on Nov. 5, as Elon’s Global Neighborhood held its second monthly house dinner of the fall semester.
The dinners, combined with a monthly film series, candid question-and-answer sessions with faculty members and other scheduled programs, are at the heart of the Global Neighborhood's programming for the year, in connection with Elon’s residential campus initiative.
“We’re hoping that intellectual conversation bubbles over and spills over into kitchens and lounges and common spaces,” Assistant Professor Amy Allocco, the neighborhood’s Teacher-Scholar-in-Residence and Distinguished Emerging Scholar in Religious Studies, said of the initiative.
Tuesday’s dinner featured dishes from Portugal and Belgium and discussion about the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass.
Jeffrey Pugh, the Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of Religious Studies, and Geoffrey Claussen, the Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies and assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies, provided presentations about the night that marked the beginning of the Holocaust. Their remarks were followed up by conversations at dinner tables among students and faculty or staff members.
The evening’s topic aligns with the Global Neighborhood’s “Religion and Conflict” theme for this academic year. More than 200 students live in Elon’s new Global Neighborhood and the majority of them attended the dinner.
“What the research shows us is that students who live on campus in a residential setting go to office hours more frequently, they interact with faculty and staff outside the classroom more frequently, they are more engaged in their classes [and] that they attend more of the amazing cultural programs and evening opportunities that we have,” Allocco said. “We’re striving to create a premiere residential campus where intellectual engagement is not confined to the classroom, but rather where it seeps out into and is intentionally integrated into residential spaces.”
Students who live in the Global Neighborhood say the efforts – and particularly the house dinners – are paying off.
“Being an Elon University student, I’m all about spreading awareness in a globalized world,” first-year student Tanguy Auguste said. “These house dinners allow us to bond together over important matters, and it helps brew important intellectual dialogue on campus. It has made my experience at Elon more gratifying and interesting.”
Fellow first-year student Allie Gagnon was among Auguste’s discussion partners Tuesday night and says the residential campus approach has already enriched her early days at Elon.
“The house dinners and the intellectual climate on campus have both been very welcoming, thought-provoking and discussion-based,” she said, “which is very beneficial to students, teachers and our future world.”
Upcoming Global Neighborhood events include a showing of the film “Eyes Wide Open” on Nov. 12, and a discussion session with faculty members from the Political Science Department and Peace and Conflict Studies on Nov. 19.