In its second semester, weekly "Snacks with Sniegowski" now employs a new structure to reach more Penn students.
With the help of the Dean’s Advisory Board, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Paul Sniegowski started weekly Tuesday night sessions last semester called "Snacks with Sniegowski," during which he would sit down with students in the Quad as they got to know each other over snacks. This semester, DAB has introduced weekly themes to provide more structure to the initiative, and alternating locations to engage a wider variety of students.
DAB co-chair and College sophomore Zack Greenstein described last semester's "Snacks with Sniegowski" as a "pilot" program, with the now-added themes acting as the next evolution.
“We decided incorporating themes was a great way to attract a different group of people and have more resources available for the students,” DAB co-chair and College junior Emily Lurie said.
The event was previously held only in the Provost Lounge in the Quad, but has now expanded to also occur in the Mezzanine Lounge in Harnwell College House every other week to try to engage upperclassmen.
DAB member and College sophomore Kayla Holmes noted that Sniegowski wanted to bring in other specialists in Penn departments such as Career Services to benefit students further.
Holmes said that themes would be “more beneficial in this type of setting because it’s more laid back,” allowing students to learn about topics that interest them and talk directly with faculty in a comfortable environment.
So far, this semester’s themes have included an Eagles celebratory night with wings, Valentine’s Day, a study abroad session, and a week on mental health.
Sniegowski, previously a Biology professor, took over as dean of the College following Dennis DeTurck’s departure last July. Since then, Sniegowski has worked to make himself as accessible and personable as possible, including setting up a Snapchat account so students can watch his everyday activities.
Lurie said the Dean “really wants to make an effort to reach out to as many students as possible.”
"It's really nice for students to feel like there's a place for their voice[s] to be heard," Lurie said. "Through having the dean there, people feel like they have the ability to voice their opinions."
College sophomore Maggie Zheng, who attended "Snacks with Sniegowski" for the first time when she saw the food in the Mezzanine Lounge in Harnwell, appreciated the low-commitment nature of the events.
“It’s a nice and accessible break,” she said.
However, she also noted that the theme of the event she was attending, mental health, was unclear. “I don’t really see the goal or the original topic being engaged in at the moment,” she said.
Other students see potential in the event.
“This could definitely turn into a place where people discuss things that are happening on campus,” College junior Jamie Ye said.
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