Kendal Santiago, Staff Writer
Not often are students given the chance to have dinner with their professors, and engage in thought-provoking conversation. Luckily, every year the Womyn’s Resource Center (WRC), hosts “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”
For those who aren’t familiar with WRC, they are an on-campus organization who have been empowering the UC community since 1991. While their main goal is to empower women, they address a wide range of issues that impact people of all demographics.
On November 17, WRC gave students the chance to network with faculty outside of the classroom by engaging in interesting conversation about social issues. The event was held in the Pioneer Cafe, where free dinner was provided. This year, WRC collaborated with the Diversity Committee as one of their “Pio Talk, Diversity Hour” series.
Hermina Garic, sophomore and administrative intern for WRC, explained what goes into planning GWCTD.
“A lot of work. A lot of teamwork. A lot of coordination and a lot of time go into planning this event.”
The WRC staff, which is staffed by students, all contribute ideas and discussion questions for each dinner table at the event. This year the staff created questions about current controversial topics: the Black Lives Matter movement, race and ethnicity, biracial relationships, sexuality and gender identity, and immigration.
“We had topics that we used from the past, but we also used new ones,” Garic said.
Utica College President Laura Casamento, who attended the event last year, made it a priority to attend again this year.
“I was scheduled to be at an off-campus event. I asked people to represent me there,” President Casamento said.
“I enjoy being at the table with people who I have not met before, who I don’t know much about and getting to know them,” she explained.
Junior Taneill Davis, who is a very active person on campus, also attended “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” for the second time.
“I decided to go this year because I had a great time last year. I think it’s important to go out and meet new staff who are able to give their perspectives and listen to students give their opinions on topics that are tough to talk about,” Davis said.
Davis’s favorite part was meeting Kyle Green, Assistant Professor of Sociology and advisor for Fuerza Latina.
“He gave lots of perspectives on tough topics. His passion and drive for sociology definitely had an impact on the way he viewed certain topics and it was great to learn his interesting views,” she said.
Demetrius Pettway, junior and member of Phi Beta Sigma and the Black Student Union, also attended the event, which he enjoyed.
“I’ve been trying to expand my thinking on things and take in other people’s perspectives on big, controversial issues,” Pettway said.
Pettway discussed that while he did disagree with the views of a couple tablemates, overall he enjoyed the event.
“In a way, it helped me understand other people’s perspectives.”
Pettway also recalls meeting new people, who he wouldn’t normally interact with. Coincidentally, he shared a table with Taneill Davis and Kyle Green.
“There was a really smart professor with a PhD in Sociology…we always walk past each other. It was a good experience to talk to somebody in a different field as me.”
It appears everyone would agree that “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” is a great experience that faculty and students should take advantage of. Fortunately, for those who missed out this year, WRC has been hosting this event annually for several years and will continue to do so. Keep an eye out for this event next fall. It’s definitely one for the books.
“It was amazing. I love it…and where else are you gonna do that?” said President Casamento.