ULM Etiquette Dinner returns, teaches manners


Prakriti Paudel graduates this May with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. However, before Paudel walks across the stage, she is to sit for a formal dinner at the College of Business and Social Sciences’ annual awards ceremony. Luckily for Paudel, the Etiquette Dinner last Wednesday taught her just what to do at events like these.
The Etiquette Dinner is a ULM tradition brought back to campus after nearly a decade. It was hosted by the Career Ambassadors, Student Government Association and Campus Activities Board. Amy Weems, assistant education professor and a third-generation home economics instructor, taught the two-hour life skill course. Planning for the event started last semester.
The menu for the night included a three-course meal with a house salad, chicken parmesan, spaghetti, green beans, bread rolls and cheese cake. Attendees were taught everything from where to wear a name tag and how to begin a meal to what to do if you drop a silverware.
According to Paudel, the laid back environment was helpful for first-time learners like her.
“We could ask all the burning questions without being embarrassed like ‘What to do if we drop our fork?’,” Paudel said.
As instructed by Weems, if you drop a silverware in a formal setting, discreetly ask the waiting staff for a new silverware. Attendees were strongly advised not to bend down and pick up the silverware and to slightly push it out of the way to avoid accidents.
According to Weems, the Etiquette Dinner helps students prepare for lunch or dinner interviews that are common in places like medical schools.
Although the event was originally geared towards graduating seniors, it was open for all. Moreover, it wasn’t just students learning about dinner etiquette.
Emily Essex, the director of Student Life and Leadership, was one of the organizers of the event. Essex said that she learned a few dinner rules like how the salt and pepper should always be passed together and how one should always offer it to someone else before serving themselves.
“I think it was a great turnout for it to be the first time we’ve done it in a while. Obviously, we’d love to fill the room up. The group was very engaged. They either asked a question or answered a question,” Essex said.
According to Essex, planning for the next Etiquette Dinner has already begun. The etiquette rules change depending on the course.
Thus, students are encouraged to participate in future Etiquette Dinners regardless of prior trainings. Both Weems and Essex are looking forward to continuing this tradition with a bigger crowd in the coming years.
“Next time, we want to do Louisiana cuisine. Those that aren’t from here can learn our culture, and there’s so much you can learn using those types of food,” Essex said.
The committee is planning to host an Etiquette Dinner every semester near the time of graduation.
According to Essex, they are also planning to host one during the time of the annual business symposium.
“We want to have engagement with students in these types of leadership things that they’re going to be doing later on, and we want them to be prepared,” Essex said.