Monday, December 13, 2010

Tis the Season

It is typical at the end of both the fall and spring semesters that there are extra meetings as every committee and aspect of University governance does all it can to complete the semester’s agenda.  And, of course, the tempo in courses is similar; as hard as we try to maintain an even pace in our courses, very often we accelerate at the end to cover all the material that should be covered.

At the end of fall semesters there is another happening that coincides with the end of the semester and that’s the holiday parties that inevitably take place this time of year.  For me this cycle of parties begins this week with the annual University alumni holiday party that takes place every year in Manhattan.  This party is usually followed by the University Holiday Party for all employees as well as various school, college, office, and related organization’s holiday parties.

There are individuals I work with that love this cycle of holiday parties and there are those that have no use for these events. After decades in higher education and decades of attending these events, where am I on the spectrum of party love/hate relationships.  I started my career as a fan, and yes, after all these decades I am still a fan.  I thoroughly enjoy attending these events.  Why is that?  And why do I not have this feeling of diminishing returns with each additional party?  The reason is simple.  I get a chance to talk to people I don’t normally see or get an opportunity to talk with.  At the alumni party, I am certain that there will be one or more of my former students, students I may have had in class decades ago.  I love having the opportunity to reconnect and get caught up on what they have been doing.  Similarly, I know many of the student leaders that have been active over the decade; with certainty, some of them will attend.  There are other alums that I don’t know who are interested in  getting caught up on what has been happening at the University; we have a lot going on in our efforts to enhance Hofstra’s growing reputation and I love to talk about what’s new.  Even the ride into this party, where the provost’s office and the deans go together is a chance to socialize in a way we don’t normally do.

I have the same feeling about the University Holiday Party.  Though there is a large percentage of the Hofstra community that I interact with continuously, there is also a large percentage that I rarely see.  All these individuals are crucial to the well being and smooth operation of Hofstra.  I love getting caught up at the University Holiday party.  I love reconnecting with colleagues and I love the holiday spirit.

Is there anything about these parties that I don’t like?  There is and it’s the tempting extra calories.  I can resist most and just spend my time sipping club sodas.  But if there is a chocolate dessert as part of the offerings, a club soda doesn’t do it.  In those cases I try the chocolate and if it is good, I try it again.  Good chocolate enhances a good holiday party; it’s a shame it enhances the waist line at the same time.

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