Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Rule number one: no cell phones. Rule number two: no laptops. Rule number three: use fine china.
Last Thursday marked the kick off of professor Andrew Stott’s new “elevenses” program: a weekly computer and cell phone-free brunch held in the Don Schack Student Lounge. This program is meant to mimic the British custom of snacking before lunch.
Stott was pleased with the number of honors students who attended, calling the first elevenses a success. He hopes to have faculty members speak during the meal in the future.
The food, which included sandwiches and tea, was provided by Stott himself and served on fine china, accentuating the British theme of the program. Stott, a native of England and UB’s director of the Honors College since March 2012, said he began elevenses because he wants more conversation to take place between the honors students.
“You look into the honors lounge and see students on computers or on phones,” Stott said. “I hope [elevenses] introduces some honors students to the terrifying, unpleasant experience of human interaction.”
Stott vehemently enforces the no-cell-phone-or-computer rule, which received some dissent from students. Several, unwilling to put away their computers, left the lounge before the brunch and one left during the meal when asked by Stott to put his computer away.
Carol Leong, a pharmacy major, likes the no electronics rule.
“It forces people to talk to other people, which won’t happen if you’re preoccupied with cell phones or computers,” Leong said. “And the tea will give students…a basis for conversation.”
Stott particularly wants elevenses to increase dialogue between students from different disciplines and majors, which, according to Stott, is essential to students’ post-graduation careers and overall education.
“Most students won’t enter a job in their major after graduation and stay with that career until they retire,” Stott said. “Thinking across disciplines gives students the skills to adapt. There is something for engineering majors to gain from art or dance … and there is something for English majors to gain from the systematic thought of engineering.”
UB students seem to be embracing the interdisciplinary message of elevenses, according to Stott.
Matthew Zambito, a senior philosophy major, sat at a table with four biomedical majors and considers elevenses a good start toward increasing dialogue between students. He learned a lot about other fields and hopes to continue making friends across disciplines.
Katie Carrozzi, senior psychology major, agreed with Zambito. She said elevenses was a good opportunity to connect with honors students she wouldn’t have otherwise talked to.
“I don’t know many psychology majors who are in the Honors College,” Carrozzi said. “So [elevenses] gives me a way to interact with the students face to face since I don’t have many classes with them.”
The elevenses meetings are just the initial step in Stott’s goal of increasing cross-discipline discussion in the Honors College.
In the spring, a new pilot course on sexuality – featuring faculty from the nursing, psychology, art and music departments – will be offered to honors students, which Stott hopes will continue to foster interdisciplinary discussion.
Elevenses is open exclusively to honors students and will take place in the Don Schack Student Loungeonce a week on different days, so students with schedule conflicts can attend.