iC Dingbat

Dinner With Six Strangers

Story by: Isadora Alteon '14J

This fall students participated in a new Campus Life initiative to bring Colby’s already close-knit community even closer. Students and faculty received glossy postcards in their mailboxes inviting them to Dinner with Six Strangers, and 110 students attended the event held in the alumni center in November. 

This program was not new for the Director of Campus Life Jed Wartman, who has organized similar dinners at other schools. “It worked really well in both environments where I implemented it before, especially in building new connections,” Wartman said before the event, adding that he was curious to see how it would work at Colby.

If students attend a series of dinners throughout the year, Wartman said, “It will get harder to have people sitting at a table with all strangers.”

While some attendees were glad to meet new people and use the starter cards on the tables to begin conversations, some dinner guests looked around the table only to see familiar faces, not strangers.

Many participants remarked that the Colby community is one where it is difficult to find real strangers on campus to begin with. For others, it had its intended effect. “I think it was successful,” said Ismael Perez ’13. “I liked the idea that there were people I didn’t know—not just students, but administrators and faculty that I got to know better at this dinner. Plus, the food was great.”

Associate Dean of Students Paul Johnston said the turnout was impressive, and that he “has no doubts that the group at my table will say hello to one another on campus after breaking down the barriers that sometimes prevent students from breaking into new social circles.”

Isadora Alteon '14J
Brooklyn, New York
Major: Sociology; Minor: Jewish Studies...