HospitaliTea conducted its first meeting on Sept. 22 as a collaboration between the Office of International Students and Visiting Scholars, the Office of Spiritual Formation and SOAR. The program is aimed to provide students an environment to relax and build relationships.
Veronica Summers, international student services specialist, said she began meeting over the summer with graduate assistant of discipleship Ariel Bloomer and Arlene Kasselman from SOAR to discuss ways to create community on campus.
“We just had this idea, ‘Well, how about something like afternoon tea?’, something that I think a lot of our international students miss,” Summers said.
Joris Spanjer, a junior marketing major from Amsterdam, Holland, attended the event.
“This is the first time I’ve had tea in America, and it’s really good. I drank it in the Netherlands quite often,” Spanjer said.
The weekly gatherings feature an assortment of hot tea and biscuits or cookies and are open to all students, staff and faculty, regardless of where they are from.
“It’s a challenge sometimes to stray away from the mindset of ‘just because I’m not an international student, I can’t be a part of things that they do’ or vice versa,” said Summers. “We want to break those barriers and create a space for people to meet each other, learn from each other, and enjoy making friends.”
HospitaliTea’s first meeting was postponed for two weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions on campus but recently resumed.
“We’re just hoping to see what comes out of it,” said Summers. “We don’t have any big goals other than to help students find time in their week to slow down and enjoy some tea and friends.”
Hospitalitea will continue to be held every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the Student Life Den.