Tea Time and Fondue Fridays are two events sponsored by the Center for Vocational Reflection (CVR) that encourage students, faculty and staff to take time to relax. Tea Time is held every Thursday from 2:30-4:30 p.m., and Fondue Friday happens on the third Friday of each month at the same time. Both events are held in the CVR.
Tea Time is an idea that was started about three years ago by a CVR intern. It offers students a time once a week to relax, slow down and have a conversation. “Gusties are very busy. Tea time is a time that we set aside every week for students, faculty and staff to come in, take a break, take a deep breath and just relax and pause,”Assistant Director of the CVR Amy Pehrson said.
Fondue Friday is a similar event that began as a fun way of getting students into the CVR. The directors want students to recognize that the CVR is a space that is open to them. “Anyone is invited to the events: students, faculty, staff; we’ve even had prospective students-anybody and everybody,” Pehrson said.
Tea Time and Fondue Friday fit into the CVR’s goals as an organization. “The CVR is very much about encouraging reflective time,” Pehrson said. “Both Tea Time and Fondue Fridays give students a chance to sit back and relax. A lot of the time we are rushing from classes to activities to work and more. The CVR encourages students to recognize this sense of business and not let it overtake our lives,” Junior Management Major and CVR Intern Anna Swenson said.
“For us here in the Center for Vocational Reflection, it’s important for us to think about interactions and relationships and learning from each other and just taking the time to stop and breathe and enjoy life,” Pehrson said. This relationship-building aspect of the CVR is also present in these two events, since the main activity at both events is conversation.
The conversation that takes place at these events is actually a way to reflect a little upon yourself, what you are doing and where you are going, which is the main idea of the CVR. “By being able to just stop, take a break and maybe think about something different, talk to somebody new or have a conversation with someone, you’re very much either stopping some chatter that’s going on in your brain or using a different part of your brain to think about something different,” Pehrson said.
“The CVR fosters good conversations by asking difficult but important questions. Instead of shying away from the unknown, the CVR encourages students to wrestle with it and to learn and grow from those experiences,” Swenson said.
The goal of both Tea Time and Fondue Fridays is really “to be able to just stop and be quiet and process,” Pehrson said. This is not to say that these events will be a completely quiet time, as Pehrson is quick to point out. “It’s fun! I think that what makes it special is that it’s always engaging. You are not going to come in to Tea Time or Fondue Friday and just sit here. It’s very relational, whether you know that person or not.”
The Center for Vocational reflection is excited about the upcoming plan to combine the CVR, the Community Service Center (CSC) and the Office of Church relations, to create the Center for Servant Leadership (CSL). This will allow them to expand the number of people who are aware of and connected with Tea Time and Fondue Fridays, to help get the word out and hopefully keep the events growing, maybe adding more events in the future. The center’s physical space will also be growing, due to a renovation removing the wall between the current CVR and Linner Lounge.
Of course, despite the renovation and renewal of the CVR into part of the CSL, Fondue Fridays and Tea Time will continue. During the renovation period, beginning in January, Fondue Friday and Tea Time will continue in the Dive. The next Fondue Friday is Dec. 10th and the January Interum Fioundue Friday is on Jan 21st. Both events are from 2:30-4:30 p.m., as are the continuing Tea Times, every Thursday afternoon. During January, the Center for Servant Leadership will also sponsor three book clubs and Tuesday fun afternoons from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the Dive.