Professor-Lunch Program Confuses

Swarthmore’s “Take Your Professor to Lunch” program is supposed to be used by students so that they can eat lunch at Sharples with professors at no cost to themselves. Despite the fact that Dining Services says the program is used and the costs are split between SBC and the Provost’s office, SBC said that none of the $250 put aside for the program has been reimbursed.

“Take Your Professor to Lunch” has always had trouble with publicity. For example, Calvin Ho ’11 says, “I forgot ‘Take Your Professor to Lunch’ even existed,” even though there were multiple “Reserve Student’s Digest” notices about it last semester. Another problem with the program is that when students bring their professors to Sharples, they often simply swipe the professor in on their own meal plan, despite the fact that the professor could get their own free meal.

Those who have actually used the program find it very successful. Daniel Symonds ’11, who took Ayub Nuri, the in-residence journalist for War News Radio to Sharples says, “We were working one evening trying to finish up a piece for the show, both of us grew hungry and I suggested we head to Sharples.” He also says, “I could see using the program again in the future. Food and chatter almost always beats visiting a professor during office hours, so I’m in full support.” If more students used “Take Your Professor to Lunch,” they might realize the value of the program.

It may seem as though the program just isn’t being used. However, Lynn Grady of Dining Services says, “In December we received $13.00 and the split between the Provost and SBC should have been $6.50.” At the Business Office, where this transaction would have gone, Nancy Sheppard says that the charges were in fact split and, “SBC is mistaken.” SBC’s Giannina Esquivel ’08 insists that she never received transfer information for the charges. Instead, the $38 spent on the program so far were taken from SBC’s account without letting Esquivel, who manages the budget, know, since the Business Office has to make all the physical transfers of money. This breakdown in communication is now being repaired so that it will not happen in the future.

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    Joseph Borkowski '08 says:

    I’ve used the program in the past; it is definitely a good way to have a meeting on the go with professors whom I know well enough to be bored of their offices and buildings. It should be more explicit, however, that the service can be used for any meal, that it is as simple as filling out a small form at the checker’s desk, and that it isn’t something formal or at risk of budget-busting if one uses it often. It also must be advertised to faculty more aggressively; several professors with whom I’ve talked about the program weren’t aware of it before I mentioned it. Regardless of my high opinion of Essie Mae’s, professors accustomed to eating there for years on end may find the trip down the hill a refreshing change of pace and a chance to indulge in the all-you-can-eat atmosphere of Sharples while actually getting some work done.

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