Nearly 500 students attend annual Graduate, Law, Medical Holiday Dinner

December 01, 2021

Graduate students participate in a traditional holiday dinner.

Students rang in the holiday season with a traditional holiday dinner served by senior administrators, faculty and staff on Tuesday evening.

Students said they look forward to the annual free meal to enjoy some down-time, catch up with friends and to meet students in other fields of study.

The graduate, law and medical students said they relish the opportunity to get together with students from throughout the university.

First-year med student Paola Peralta said that with small class sizes and spending so much time together with her fellow medical students, the holiday dinner is a nice opportunity to relax and meet friends outside of her program.

Inayzha Wallace, also a first-year med student, agreed.

“I didn’t know any students outside of medical and this is a nice time to socialize and meet other people,” Wallace said.

And there was ample opportunity Tuesday evening to meet other people. In 2011, 75 students tucked away in a corner of the dining hall. This year, over the course of the evening, 500 students dined and chatted, filling the hall throughout the evening.

Stefano Fasulo, associate director of graduate student affairs, said he sees the dinner as an opportunity to take a break from the increased work of the final weeks of the semester.

“It’s a stress-relief for them and a time for community-building. It’s a mental and emotional break when they need it most,” he said.

The lure is a free meal, but networking, relaxing and a break from hard work is the intent of the event, he said.

First-year medical student Olivia Kelly saw the dinner as “bridging the gap between schools.”

“It’s so hard to coordinate time to conscientiously reach out and get together with friends, and this dinner puts us all in the same place at the same time,” she said as she was catching up with a friend from high school who she happened to run into at Quinnipiac, first-year law student Katie Quinn.

“We have 55 students in one section and we spend so much time together, it’s nice to catch up with friends in other schools,” Quinn said.

Fasulo, who was key in organizing the event, said he enjoys seeing the students relax at the 10th annual dinner.

“When we put the sign-up out for volunteers, the faculty and staff respond immediately. They love helping as much as we love giving the students this chance to kick off the holiday season,” he said.

Katie Castell, a biomedical science student who works in the office of graduate student affairs attended the event because it made her feel appreciated.

“I’ll never say ‘no’ to a free dinner,” she joked, “I know that the university wants us to feel appreciated, especially with the faculty and staff serving dinner. This truly does make me feel like they appreciate me.”

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