Meals with Mentors: Encouragement, fun and food!

Starting on Wednesday, November 1, Parkhurst Dining Service is re-inventing a popular tradition at the ’Berg. “Meals with Mentors” brings faculty and staff together with students to have a relaxed meal and connect beyond all of the work of everyday life. This renewed program will continue on Wednesdays during the school year, around dinner time in the Berg Bistro.

Those who have been around the ’Berg for a while might think this idea sounds familiar. “‘Meals with Mentors’ is a re-invented version of Pints with Professors, which used to be held in the past,” Amanda Overy, marketing coordinator for Parkhurst, shared. After a particularly fruitful meeting, it was evident that “everyone would like to see that program or something similar exist again.”

Most of the current students may have heard of “Pints with Professors” from visiting alumni (or alluded to in a classroom aside). The program itself brings one faculty or staff member to The Berg Bistro for two hours, and provides discounts to students who stop by to dine in and chat during that time.

Although what’s provided is fairly self explanatory, a good meal can really bring people together. “Building connections and relationships is an important part of learning and growing and it is with high hopes that ‘Meals with Mentors’ will help students to achieve this,” Amanda explained. “We want students of all ages to feel welcomed and as though they are able to ask questions or discuss topics in a comfortable and relaxed environment.”

Assistant Professor of English, Dr. Barry Devine will be the first mentor available for a chat as part of this program. He’ll be in The Berg Bistro from 5-7 pm on Wednesday, November 1. Barry’s excited to participate in this returning series. “I think it is important for students to see and talk to their professors outside of the classroom setting. Events like ‘Meals with Mentors’ create a low-stress atmosphere where students and professors can just relax and be themselves without assignments, deadlines and grades looming over the conversation.”

For Barry, building relationships with students is why he does what he does. Getting to be a mentor “is one of the main reasons I always wanted to teach at a small university,” he explained. “At my previous, much larger institutions, I would have students in class one semester and never see them again. At Heidelberg, I have many of the same students in class over and over, and I see other students around campus where we get to chat for a few minutes here and there.” As intimate as Heidelberg’s campus community is, events like “Meals with Mentors” serve to further engage and connect people with each other. “This closeness with students allows us to be better mentors,” Barry elaborated, “to give better advice, to understand a student's circumstances better and to have empathy for their fears and concerns for their future. I guess, to me, mentorship at Heidelberg means building on our relationships to make sure students have the best resources and opportunities to follow their dreams.”

So, finish out the semester strong by staying connected with your existing mentors, or meeting someone new. “I am really hoping to see students who I have not seen in class for a while. (You know who you are! Come say hi!),” Barry encouraged. Be sure to stop in and say “hi” and grab a bite to eat – for this first week, it’s $2 off any $10 dine-in order. Here’s the lineup for the rest of the semester:

November 1: Dr. Barry Devine, 5-7pm

November 8: Ashley Helmstetter, 5-7pm

November 15: Dr. Jena Suffel, 6-8pm

November 29: Dr. Justin Pruneski, 5-7pm

December 6: Dr. Julie O'Reilly, 5-7pm

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