By COLLIN STACHURA
The Niagara College Benchmark restaurant was serving up plates full of etiquette, on Tuesday night, and it was not the nightly special. The entire facility was closed to the public so it could play host to the second annual etiquette dinner put on by Niagara College’s First Generation and Career clubs.
Organizer was Courtney Meyer. As the event co-ordinator First Generation Students, Center for Student Engagement and Leadership, she jumped at the opportunity saying she was excited to work on it with the Career Club.
Last year’s hugely successful dinner saw over 40 students attending the over-subscribed inaugural get together. This year, Meyer upped the number of seats.
“It gives students a chance to try a free Benchmark dinner while learning how to navigate their way through a business lunch, dinner or networking event,” says Meyer.
Covering all aspects of how to dine out properly they couldn’t have found a better person to do so than by getting adviser Hannah Melindy, Benchmark supervisor and Niagara College graduate. Melindy broke down the rules and nuances of dining etiquette for students, everything they would need to know at a formal dinner setting. She ran through a complete list from A to Z of proper table manners, afterwards opening the floor to questions.
The dinner was open for all Niagara College students to attend, and a wide range did, from business students, to electrical engineers and technicians. Even a few of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Student Administrative Council (SAC) members were there.
“I came for the free food, and, of course, the networking,” says Jamie Sterman, NOTL SAC director of social programming. Joining her was Matthew Cowell, SAC director of media.
There was a wide range of students who didn’t necessarily need an etiquette course but, like Arlene Martin, a second-year student in the Social Service Worker program, always to get a refresher.
“I’ve been self-employed for years so I like to make sure that I’m caught up on networking and meeting new people,” says Martin.Many of the students attending were invited by the First Generation Student Center for Engagement and Leadership via e-mail, just like Jasmine Olah, a first-year student in Recreational Therapy.
“They help you connect with others.” No newcomer to First Generation events, Olah has been taking advantage of the seminars the Center for Student Engagement and Leadership annually offers on money and stress management.
Speed friending was one of the most successful events this year. “We just tried it on a whim. We thought it would be a good networking opportunity for students to meet each other and make friends,” says Meyer.
So if you missed out on the etiquette dinner, speed friending and all the seminars First Generation organizes to help students, the annual events are run at the same time every year. For more information on the Center view the Niagara College website, or stop in at the Welland campus offices in Lundy 21 (L21).