Tonight there was a faculty reception at the President's house. Coaches were invited, so I went over there with a couple of my colleagues. We ran into some chums from other Student Affairs departments: a career services guy, a woman from residential life, and a fellow in charge of multicultural affairs. We drank wine and toasted one another while the faculty milled about and waiters came around with trays of shrimp and chicken with mango and spring rolls. The president came by and accused the tennis coach of trying to kill some first year students. Just doing our fitness test, said the coach. There's always some vomiting after the sprints. The coaches began comparing notes about our fitness tests, until our career services friend started to look glassy-eyed. A couple of times I broke away to go circle the hors d'oeuvres table, eyeing the professors and wondering how to start a conversation. I need a faculty liaison for my team, and I've heard tell of a history professor who sails, but I scanned nametags without any luck.
I am still amazed at how little mixing there is between "faculty" and "staff". My posse was talking about the retreat we did earlier in the month. It was for all the people whose jobs are classified as "student affairs" -- which seems to be everyone who interacts with the students except for the faculty. I would have liked it better if the faculty had been having their own reatreat at the camp across the lake. Then us "staff" could have snuck out in our canoes in the middle of the night, with water balloons, and raided the faculty. I like to imagine the icebreakers that would happen if the faculty and staff were all treated as one big group, and did team bonding and brainstorming activities together. A tug of war, maybe, between the athletic department and the English department. "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Professor X over!" Then maybe a nice Scrabble tournament, or maybe some Suduko, to even things up. Fake tattoos for everyone. That's how I would run the college. No more of this false separation between faculty and staff.
After the reception I wandered up to the field house where the beginning of year lobster bake was happening. Coaches were invited, but I didn't notice any professors. I saw the men's soccer coach, the field hockey, men's basketball, football, and tennis coaches, hanging out with their teams. I sat down with a few of my sailors and cracked open my lobster, letting the tail soak in my cup of melted butter. Mmmmm.