Faculty and staff bond with brown bags

COLIN LIKAS | Editor-In-Chief

Students at Butler University get the opportunity to meet and interact with new and varying individuals. while on campus.

At the same time, those helping to provide a college experience to students can also interact and become companions.

This is a key goal for Butler Staff Assembly’s “informal lunches.”

The first two of four scheduled hour-long lunches were held Jan. 7 and Feb. 4 in the Campus Club. The next two will take place March 4 in Atherton Union Room 326 and April 1 in C-Club.

Assistant Director of Admission Pam Nixon is the convener of Staff Assembly’s activities and socials committee, which hosts the informal lunches. She said the idea for the lunches came from a discussion she had with JoAnn Weber, a Finance Office administrative secretary.

Nixon said the lunches allow faculty and staff to meet and connect with fellow employees they may not frequently see.

“We decided we didn’t want it to have to be a lunch where people were required to go out somewhere, carpool and have to pay for it, if that was an issue,” Nixon said. “The whole goal is to really have people connect during work hours.”

Nixon said holding the lunches in C-Club or the Marketplace allows employees the option to eat at either location, or to bring a brown bag lunch.

The reaction to the informal lunch idea among Staff Assembly was “nothing but positive,” said Josh Downing, Staff Assembly executive committee chair.

“Anytime you can get people together, especially when it’s informal, it’s a good thing,” Downing said. “The underlying thing is getting to know people on campus, so you don’t feel pressure in a laid-back environment.”

Jessica Brolsma, activities and socials committee member and exploratory studies academic advisor, said she was excited to see the informal lunches, in part because they can allow faculty and staff to take a breather from the daily grind.

“I think it’s really easy to get bogged down with the tasks you’re doing in your job,” Brolsma said. “So I think it’s important for people to take a break during the workday to de-stress a bit.”

Brolsma, Downing and Nixon were not able to attend the first two informal lunches, but Downing said attendance at the lunches will be a topic of discussion at the Staff Assembly executive committee meeting today.

Nixon said students could potentially be involved in these lunches in the future, saying it would be “just another chance for people to find common ground.”

The informal lunch concept is just one of several programs executed by Staff Assembly’s activities and socials committee.

Brolsma said allowing faculty and staff to know they are part of something bigger than themselves is a goal for activities the committee hosts.

“I think, just having that opportunity for us to come together as a whole group is important,” Brolsma said. “Even on a campus where we’re all working together, it is important to make relationships.”