The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday January 23rd

Departments and clubs use coffee hours to connect students and faculty

Emily Connelly is the Office and Events Coordinator for the Center for Global Initiatives.
Buy Photos Emily Connelly is the Office and Events Coordinator for the Center for Global Initiatives.

Junior Caby Styers said the Society of Undergraduate Anthropologists held its first coffee hour with anthropology professor Michele Rivkin-Fish last week. She said one goal of SUA is to bring faculty and students closer together outside of the classroom and that events featuring food can prevent people from asking questions.

“The coffee hour was really good because it can be scheduled any time during the afternoon really, where a lot of times lunch or dinner kind of have a narrow frame,” Styers said.

Senior Hayley Conyers, who attended the SUA Coffee Hour, said it was an intimate and casual experience.

“It was really informal. (Rivkin-Fish) talked to us about her current research and her past research. It was really just a time for questions,” Conyers said.

The UNC Center for Global Initiatives holds an International Coffee Hour once a month geared toward international students, but anyone is welcome to come.

Emily Connelly, the office and events coordinator for the center, said the hours help promote diversity and understanding of other people’s cultures.

“It gives them a chance to casually talk to people that they wouldn’t walk up to and start a conversation with normally,” Connelly said.

Iyman Gaspard, program manager for the center, said the coffee hours create an informal space to discuss current events on campus.

“Overall the whole idea behind the international coffee hour was to have international students, scholars and staff who are here at UNC to be more integrated into the community, because they feel more isolated from the rest of the student body,” Gaspard said.

The Department of Romance Studies organizes Spanish lunches once a week for students to practice their Spanish conversation skills in the Student Union Wendy’s.

Teaching assistant and exchange student Rocío Corral García said the lunches are open to any UNC student. You can bring your lunch or buy lunch from Wendy’s, but food is not required to participate.

“Sometimes we just pick a topic randomly,” Corral García said. “And it also depends on how many students we get and the level.”

American Studies professor Ben Frey hosts Cherokee Coffee Hours every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon in Abernethy Hall. These coffee hours are a time for students to practice the Cherokee language in an informal setting. Frey said a group of four to five students show up consistently throughout the year.

Frey said he pays for the coffee for the Cherokee Coffee Hours using money from the UNC American Indian Center. He buys the coffee from Tribal Grounds Coffee, a Cherokee business based on tribal lands within western North Carolina.

“We just come in and hang out for an hour in Cherokee,” Frey said. “The main idea is to build relationships in the language.”


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