An update from Dr. Beth Wheaton, Faculty in Residence (FiR) for the Cockrell-McIntosh Residential Commons:
Since ancient times groups have gathered together to share a time of intellectual discussion and entertainment. The term “salon” was coined in France in the 17th century. Cockrell-McIntosh Residential Common has recreated this practice of the salon with the new mission of “engaging students.”
Whether going to school on an active campus like Southern Methodist University in a dynamic city like Dallas or across the world, students have an overwhelming number of ways in which to use their free time. Much of their formal education is received in a classroom setting.
Over the past year Team Cockrell-McIntosh (C-M) has been developing a concept called Tuesday Salons. The salon offers a new way to engage students in an informal and fun setting. Salons provide students with the space and atmosphere to meet and talk with each other as well as with SMU and DFW professionals. These opportunities lend well to the information sharing and networking that is vital to students’ education and career development.
SMU designed each FiR apartment with a large living room into which students may be invited. Each Tuesday during the semester, Team C-M prepares snacks and I open my apartment to receive students.
Some Tuesday Salons are private gatherings for the students to mingle in a friendly atmosphere with their fellow residents and C-M’s pup-in-residence Lone Star. Other nights, I invite a star-studded line-up of SMU and DFW professionals to come in and talk with, not to, C-M residents.
Tuesday, August 26 was Cockrell-McIntosh’s inaugural Tuesday Salon. The special guests were SMU President Turner and Mrs. Gail Turner. Over 100 C-M students attended the event to meet the Turners and have ice cream brownie sundaes with homemade hot fudge. The following week was a low-key, residents-only “make your own candy sushi” Tuesday Salon.
Whether the Tuesday Salon includes a group of SMU and DFW fitness professionals, legal professionals, music professionals or simply a group of fellow C-M residents, students can have an hour’s break from studying to learn in a new way. This engagement may come from talking with each other, learning to communicate with professionals in a variety of fields, experiencing a new activity (like creating candy sushi), or simply taking a moment to pet the pup.