Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

When students and faculty/staff have opportunities to interact outside of classroom time, it encourages everyone to become better acquainted with each other on an informal level, and creates connections that transcend as well as enhance academics.

Faculty/staff and students eating
Students, faculty and staff enjoy sharing meals and conversation at Durrell Dining Center.

“Take a Faculty/Staff Member to Lunch” is a program created through a partnership between Residence Life and Residential Dining Services that gives on-campus students the opportunity to treat a faculty member, advisor or academic success coordinator to lunch at one of the on-campus dining centers on Wednesdays. The student simply uses extra “free” swipes on their meal card – at no additional cost to them.

Sharing lunch and an informal conversation is a great way to explore educational and research opportunities, to identify or confirm a career direction, as well as build an educational relationship.

Cultivating support networks

“It’s important for students to engage through spaces outside of classrooms to help them thrive at CSU,” says Teresa Metzger, Residence Life assistant director for academic initiatives. “Programs like this create a casual atmosphere to interact with faculty and advisors in familiar spaces that are informal and inviting. It also helps students use their resources to cultivate their support networks at CSU.”

The program is a win-win for everyone involved. It encourages students to become more comfortable with faculty/staff, and on the flip side, for faculty/staff to take advantage of opportunities to mentor students. Demetrios Godenitz, assistant director for undeclared advising at the Collaborative for Student Achievement, uses the time in the casual space to engage with students around topics of academic interests, future studies and, mutually, general life experiences.

Flyer for Take Faculty/Staff to Lunch‘Human to human’

“I like the idea of dining hall connections because students have to fuel up at some time, so it is a nice way to be in a space with a wide variety of students,” he said. “I think eating helps illustrate our similarities — we’re all human, we all eat for fuel — and so conversations are more human-to-human, and I feel students are then more open, both in sharing and listening.”

These larger conversations can tell a story that goes beyond tests and standard office-hours meetings. Jessica Dyrdahl, program coordinator for leadership development and an instructor for the President’s Leadership Program, has met with students and connected on a variety of topics, both related to and separate from coursework.

“I have been able to meet with two students so far, and both meetings have been great,” she said. “They have been able to share their passions and goals more freely, and I have tried to offer support and guidance for them.”

About the program

  • Available to all undergrad student meal plan holders
  • Visit any residential dining center on Wednesdays through the end of the semester, and their companion’s lunch is on us (one swipe/two lunches)
  • Tell the meal checker that you’re hosting your faculty member/academic advisor
  • Promotion does not include Durrell Express, Ram’s Horn Express or Braiden RamWich.
  • More information is available at https://housing.colostate.edu/dining/meal-plans/