Students were invited to come to the Horseshoe on Feb. 24 at 10:45 a.m. for “Coffee Talk on the 'Shoe,” an event funded by the Office of Student Affairs and Vice Provost.
While the weather took a turn for the worse with freezing temperatures and rain, the event was still on. The Coffee Talk was relocated to the Gressette Room and students were able to meet and speak with university leadership, administration and University President Harris Pastides over coffee and breakfast.
According to Student Body Vice President Donnie Iorio, the program was introduced to Student Government at this past year’s SEC exchange. At the exchange, SEC universities looked at peer institutions and discussed whether they have been successful.
“We’re all in the business of doing things for our students,” Iorio said. “The University of Florida started a program similar to this in order for students to meet administrators and administrators to meet students.”
Florida’s program was very successful, so USC decided to create “Coffee Talks on the 'Shoe.” While this was its first year, administrators and SG officials hope to see it continue in the future.
“It’s a way to bring people together,” Iorio said. "You see administrators of all levels interacting with students of all years and they’re all doing it over a cup of coffee and some cinnamon rolls,” Iorio said.
The goal of the program is to give students the opportunity to meet with administrators and discuss anything that they wish.
Taylor Santana, a third-year international studies and business management student, came to the Coffee Talk with a group of French exchange students who were staying with her. The group got to meet Pastides, give him a high-five and get a photo with him.
“We got to talk to Pastides about the weather and just have a laid back and familiar conversation,” Santana said. “It was cool to speak to the president because he is a very important person in the university.”
Other students used the Coffee Talk to make a more professional connection with administrators.
Iorio said that he stood next to a first-year who had just begun his undergraduate research. The student was able to meet with the Executive Vice President of Research, and make an important connection.
“I think the informality is the beauty of this event. I know the elected leaders a lot better than the cabinet members so it was nice to meet a lot of them that I don’t normally get to see,” Pastides said.
Pastides had an executive council meeting prior to the event and encouraged those in attendance to come to the talk, so administration was very well-represented.
"Let's remember why there's a university. The purpose of it is not to employ. The university [exists] to educate our students and to provide them the power of education," Iorio said. "That's what these administrators are able to do."