SMU Faculty in Residence

As live-in faculty members in SMU’s Residential Commons, Faculty in Residence (FiRs) serve as the intellectual leaders of their commons. The FiR program creates opportunities for students to know faculty members outside of the classroom and emphasizes a culture of mentorship, intellectual discourse and community.

The student Residential Commons Leadership Corps also is blogging at http://blog.smu.edu/studentadventures/category/smu-residential-commons-leadership-corps/

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Diary of an FIR: The Silent Disco, Part I

An update from Ann Batenburg, Faculty in Residence (FiR) for the Virginia-Snider Residential Commons:

August 28, 2013

It’s been a big day.

All of you over the age of 40 will be relieved to know that the Electric Slide is alive and well. I know this because I went to the Silent Disco tonight. All of you under the age of 40 will not comprehend my next statement: Horror of horrors, after years of a not-entirely-silent protest against it, I am now on Facebook. (And blogging, for heaven’s sake. When I announced these things to my best friend, Edmond, his response was, “Who are you?”)

Seeking to use this new social networking tool (Well, it’s new to me, isn’t it?), I sent out an announcement for the Silent Disco that said, “If you want to go in together, meet by Café 100 at 9 p.m.” (This was a carefully worded email. If I chickened out, then people wouldn’t necessarily count on me being there – just go in “together.”) Bucking up my courage, I showed up around 8:50 p.m. to see if any students actually wanted to attend. My plan was to meet them, gather them, make introductions, and usher them into the program, while I “waited outside just in case more people came.” I was still very uncertain and insecure about this FiR thing and what my role would or should be. Would students want to dance with a professor? Wouldn’t that be a bit weird? Can I even still dance at this age?

All of these fears became moot when absolutely no one showed up. Nine o’clock passed by – no students. Then the decision became: how long do I stay? What if students are always 10 minutes late? So, I agreed with myself to stay another 10 minutes and then go home, having given it the good ol’ Facebook try. During those 10 minutes, I just hung around Hughes-Trigg watching the students silently dancing down in the courtyard. (Fascinating! Worth a whole ‘nother blog post on its own. Stay tuned.)

As people were passing me by heading into the student center, and as people were looking up at me from the disco, I realized that I was getting some dirty looks. Some confused looks. Some looks of growing alarm that seemed to say, “Who is that creepy middle-aged woman just hanging around?” And it then dawned on me, what is the difference between a creepy middle-aged woman hanging around and a faculty-in-residence? I only began to contemplate this when, mercifully, one of the RAs in my building showed up.

By the way, two of my RAs had “liked” my post about the Silent Disco on Facebook. I had to write to one of the RAs and ask what “like” meant in this context. I wrote, “Does that mean you both are going, or is that more of a noncommittal, encouragement type of thing?” (Rookies. *Sigh*) Though I now understand “like” to mean absolutely nothing of consequence, I was quite relieved to see my RA! We did go down to the dance, and I did some dancing. The Electric Slide, in fact. One girl looked at me with some amazement while we were dancing this eternal line dance and said, “You know how to do this?!”

Yes, dear girl, we’ve been doing it since at least 1986. When I am sure I thought it was brand new, too.

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    About Ashley Garner

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