Faculty and staff move to the same beat at multicultural jam session

January 12, 2022

Professors mingle at Multicultural Community Jam Session

Few things bring people of diverse backgrounds, cultures and interests together like music does, which was exactly the intent when Don Sawyer planned a multicultural community jam session for faculty and staff shortly before December break.

The happy hour event, held at On The Rocks Pub & Grill in the Rocky Top Student Center, featured food, a DJ, and musical performances.

“This was a tough semester with a lot still going on in the world, so I wanted to use my love of music to reach out to faculty and staff,” explained Sawyer, vice president for equity, inclusion and leadership development. “We’re spread out over different campuses now and COVID is still having an impact. It’s been difficult at times to remain connected.”

The faculty and staff — representing virtually every facet of the university — praised the event for bringing everyone together again.

“It’s great to be in-person,” Sawyer said. “We see each other at meetings, but not like this. What better a way to do that than with music. This is a way for faculty and staff to let loose a bit at the end of the semester.”

That’s exactly what Professor of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Anthropology Xi Chen was looking for: a break before grading her final round of exams.

“I love that we have this opportunity to bring all of these people together to celebrate our different backgrounds through music,” she said.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Adam Roth praised the event for bringing together so many people.

“This is a great opportunity to talk with a diverse group in a relaxing and fun environment and a great way for me to get to know other faculty and staff that I don’t personally know,” he said.

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now