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Freshman coordinates dinners for fellow first-year students

October 1, 2013

Stephens freshmen last week had a chance to get to know one another better at back-to-back dinners at the President’s Home.

The events were the brainchild of Freshman Jenna Westra who talked to Stephens President Dianne Lynch after noticing students in the dining hall whom she hadn’t yet met.

“I wanted a way for people to meet everyone,” she said.

Westra is studying Event and Convention Management, a new major this year, so the project doubled as a way to get some first-hand experience. While Lynch’s office took care of logistics, Westra was in charge of coming up with icebreaker games, creating nametags and making sure attendees felt comfortable.

“I didn’t do everything, but it was certainly a step in what I want to do,” she said. “Everyone had a great time. There was really no pressure, people just got a chance to know more about one another.”

The dinners are just one example of how students can create their own opportunities at Stephens, parents were told during a Family Weekend event this past weekend. Lynch is always available to students who have ideas, Tina Parke-Sutherland, a professor of English/creative writing said during a faculty panel discussion.

"Our president is an amazing resource," she said.

And Westra didn't hesitate to take advantage of that. She's now working with Lynch on ideas for Halloween events at Stephens. She'd also like to coordinate another freshmen dinner.

Westra and fellow Event and Convention Management students are also getting real world experience in their courses. The class recently visited SC Events, the office that coordinates weddings, business meetings and other external and internal events on campus, getting a behind-the-scenes look at event planning.

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