By Laraib Asim
The American Marketing Association (AMA) hosted its annual Dining Etiquette event April 13. Guest speaker Nancy Church encouraged students to wear business casual outfits. She was dressed in a vintage style business dress with a yellow top hat and white gloves. The event was hosted in the Hermes Conference Room located in Au Sable Hall.
According to Gracie Denning, the Director of Communication of the AMA, “The purpose of this event was a fun way to learn etiquette for future careers.”
Church, who shared the same goal, introduced herself as “Ms Etie-Cat” to promote a fun, relaxed evening where students are allowed a hands-on learning experience on how to properly present themselves during a business meal.
The AMA has been hosting several events as part of the Business Series every spring.
On April 6, AMA hosted a “Beyond Marketing….Creating your own vision” event, the guest speaker of which was Jean Guinup; owner of GC Communications, LLC. On April 11, an Interview Etiquette event was conducted by David Coryer, an alumni who is the COO of Coryer Staffing.
According to Church, the Dining Etiquette event was started by her in 1989 when she was the faculty advisor of the AMA. Soon after, a series of other events such as telephone etiquette, travel etiquettes etc. were also launched.
“There have always been certain basic rules of dining etiquette but not everybody learns them at home,” Church said. “I always say ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ ”
The AMA was ecstatic to have Church as the guest speaker again. Denning stated, “Dr. Nancy Church is a very special part of our business school. We were excited to have her join us as she has done it prior years and she is very respected within the business school and lots of students like her or want the chance to know her.”
Whilst the meeting was an open invitation to students of all majors -granted they signed up for it- It was mainly targeted at students who are in the School of Business and Economics (SBE). In the week prior to the meeting, multiple students gave a broad overview of the student clubs within the SBE and encouraged students to sign up for this particular event in Wanda Haby’s business ethics and professionalism class. Some professors encouraged students to attend the event for extra credit whilst some alerted students about this opportunity via email.
At different time intervals throughout the event, Church would go through a list of minor but prominent etiquettes and cover information regarding cutlery and how to hold it, where a napkin should be placed, how to avoid lipstick prints in glasses, how to eat certain food items such as a baked potato and so on and so forth. Most of the etiquettes were fairly straightforward, while some prompted a response from the surprised audience. Church pointed out that most of these observances were mainly advice and not hard set rules so things like pulling up a chair for a female colleague was optional. She talked briefly about last year’s cocktail party etiquette as well. She humorously warned students to be wary of small tomatoes when eating to avoid shooting seeds at the faces of other people.
The club had contacted Chartwells, the campus’s food service provider and had arranged a three course meal to be consumed as part of the event. Renee Builes, an employee at Chartwells talked about the event.
“I think it’s a great idea because a lot of young adults don’t know the proper way to behave in some places and [end up] making a bad impression without intending to.” Builes said.
For the appetizer everyone was served caesar salad, followed by herb, crusted chicken with green peas and risotto and finished by a luscious cheesecake. Builes noted how some students chose not to taste the chicken and realized that from now onwards, it’s important to be made aware of student’s dietary restrictions beforehand so that it can be accommodated.
Overall, the event had a great turnout of almost 20 students. It was funded mainly through the club’s own budget allocated by the Student Association and through various fundraisers such as a collaboration with Zuke’s Corner Store, held on March 3 or recycling fundraisers etc.