Social Events Update by Dave Paul Strohecker

For my latest installment in the Sociology Newsletter, I thought I would talk about some of the events I helped plan as the Social Chair in the GSF.

As you all may or may not have been aware, we have been trying to bring back the defunct Tea Times that (I believe) were started by Annette Lareau. We had three successful Tea Time events this Spring semester, with one of them occurring during the Admitted Students’ Day. Reeve, PJ, and I believe these are important events in order to bring the sense of community to the department and recognize one another for our accomplishments. After all, a unified department makes for a mutually productive department.

In addition to the monthly Happy Hours, I have helped to organize several Interdisciplinary Events with other departments in the College of Liberal Arts. For our last happy hour, we extended invitations to graduate students from Psychology and Anthropology. We had about 10 students from these respective departments turn up, and they all agreed that it was a fun occasion.

This past weekend we also had a trip to see the Nationals play. We had a huge turnout to this event, but I must admit that Molly Russell from the Anthropology department took the lead on organizing this event. She was able to get us reduced ticket costs and good seating for the event. We had about 30 graduate students show up from Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, and Kinesiology. We were also able to share a few drinks at the Hawk and Dove afterwards.

I believe these interdisciplinary events are integral for the graduate students in that they not only foster friendships but also an interdisciplinary awareness that is beneficial to all parties involved. In order to overcome charges of insularity in our field, it is necessary that us graduate students do our best to begin fostering interdisciplinary research that tackles issues shared by our respective fields. These social events, albeit non-academic in the most, help us to create useful social networks outside of our own discipline. I hope to see some collaborative research emerge in the near future out of these burgeoning relationships.

Finally, as a capstone event in my position as Social Chair, I recently organized the Department Family Picnic. We had a good turnout, with about 30-40 people attending (faculty, family, pets, and graduate students). Despite the foreboding weather forecasts, the day turned out quite nice, with only wind being somewhat of a hindrance. We played a little baseball, football, and of course we ate lots of good food. Special thanks to Jeff and Karen Lucas for providing such wonderful food! And thanks to everyone else who showed up and/or brought some of food of their own.

In closing, I want to thank everyone who helped make the social events a success. This year has been a wonderful first year and I couldn’t have done it without you. I especially want to thank PJ Rey, who as Co-Chair has spent countless hours preparing for these Happy Hours and Tea Times. He should also be credited for creating the online recognition form that we can now use to compile and record our publications, speeches, and accomplishments. This will help us to create and up-to-date and promising website in the near future.

Dave is a first year PhD student.

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