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Etiquette dinner teaches students valuable lessons

November 8, 2007

Imagine having the opportunity to enjoy a five-course meal on the UW-River Falls campus. Students who attend the annual Etiquette Dinner have the opportunity to dine on a variety of delicious foods and learn good manners in the process.

Career Services, along with the help of Chartwells, puts together the dinner for students each year.

Carmen Croonquist, the director of Career Services, said she believes that the Etiquette Dinner is worthwhile for all students on this campus.

“Students who attend the Etiquette Dinner have an opportunity to learn many important pointers regarding business and dining etiquette that will serve them well in many social situations throughout their lives,” Croonquist said in an e-mail interview. “Realizing that everything we do creates an impression (positive, negative, or somewhere in between), the goal of knowing proper etiquette is to give students confidence and a sense of comfort in those situations where not knowing what to do could cost them a job offer.”

Senior Alicia Braker, a biotechnology major, attended the dinner for the first time last fall with a group of students from her residence hall.

“I thought it would be a very educational experience to learn proper etiquette,” Braker said. “It’s important to learn how to conduct yourself.”

Those who attend the dinner will learn about the do’s and don’ts about proper dining in formal and business situations. Students will learn about introductions, proper handshakes, how to eat certain foods, what types of food not to order during an interview and much more, Croonquist said.

“In summary, they learn professionalism and how to make a positive first impression,” Croonquist said.

Some students, like senior Megan Kiesow, attended the Etiquette Dinner for class credit, but came away with information that they did not expect and decided it was a great event to sharpen her etiquette.

Preparation for the dinner has been going on for a long time and Croonquist credits her staff for helping her to make the Etiquette Dinner a reality.

“Melissa Wilson has done an outstanding job of coordinating many of the details, as well as Chartwells (who puts on the dinner), and our front office staff who processed all the student registrations and made the certificates,” Croonquist said. “The process involves picking a date(s) that works well for students, reserving the ballroom and determining set up … working with Chartwells on the menu and the serving process, promoting the dinners, handling and processing the registrations, designing and printing up the ‘Etiquette Pocket Pals’ and marshalling the assistance needed for checking students in the night of the dinner.”

Students who attend the Etiquette Dinner can use their meal plan, bonus points, Falcon Dollars or cash. For students who pay with cash, the cost of the dinner is $11.60.

Braker used her meal plan last year and thought having that option over having to pay out of pocket really made the dinner more accessible to students.

While the registration date has passed for the Nov. 12 and 13 Etiquette Dinner, students can look forward to another dinner sometime during spring semester.