Last weekend we hosted a brunch for Eckardt Scholar students. The Eckardt Scholars Program is a highly selective honors program in the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh. This is my second year as Director of the program. I have been loving this new (it still feels very new to me) role. I had been wanting to host an event at our home for Eckardt Scholars, and a Sunday brunch seemed perfect because it allows for students to have the rest of their day free (Eckardts are a very ambitious bunch and, for the most part, Sundays are not at all “off” for them, but rather are spent intensely studying and/or devoted to working on the many other activities/organizations/clubs/etc. in which they take part and lead). The brunch was probably the most successful event that we’ve hosted so far on campus (and we’ve hosted quite a few!). About 40 students came. The sun was streaming in, everyone was relaxed, and the food was delicious and plentiful. I’ve never seen this particular group of students so care-free, social, and happy. It was such a great event.
For the past week I’ve been marveling in how grateful I feel for being able to pull off something like that brunch. In the past, it would have been a major stressor to try to make it happen. But now, it was so easy and stress-free. There are two things that stand out to me as making the most major difference:
- Living on campus makes it so easy to invite and embrace students into our home. Hosting a brunch like this in our old home would not have been impossible, but it would have been much, much harder. On a residential campus like Lehigh’s many students don’t have cars/transportation. And even if we could have arranged for transportation, the drive-time (even though we only lived 20 minutes away) would have added to the time commitment for already-overly-busy students. If we had done something like this in our old home it would have felt so much bigger– and thus the stakes would have felt so much higher– the pressure would have been on for all involved– and there wouldn’t have been much at all relaxed about it. Being right on campus makes a huge difference in the logistics — and the tone — of the event!
- Living on campus allows for us to easily take advantage of Lehigh Catering. And OH MY GOSH what a difference that makes. Everyone knows I love to cook and entertain, but seriously… a brunch for 40?!… it would have meant a whole weekend of planning, prepping, shopping, chopping, and cooking for me. Not to mention set up, take down, dishes, ETC. We had Lehigh Catering cater with a wonderful brunch menu. They did the entire event for us (set up, take down, and a catering staff assisting through the entire event with replenishing/cleaning/, etc.), which meant I could spend the brunch focused on the Eckardt students, and the rest of my weekend focused on my own kids. Having it catered makes a huge difference!