A reader writes:
Several students at my program (myself included) have remarked that the department social life seems to be a very beer-and-football type environment, with all the sponsored social activities revolving around traditional masculine activities and locations. There’s nothing inherently wrong with said activities, but the overall effect is not welcoming for female students. What kinds of more gender-neutral social activities could you recommend?
4 thoughts on “Reader Query: Department Activity Suggestions”
Dancing (freestyle or watever)
Short trips to nearby things-play, concert, beach, exhibit
Crossword puzzle contests
I have always fantasized attempting to try every restaurant in town. I suggest a Restaurant Crawl! A Restaurant Club? Still, this requires expenditure, alas.
Outdoor activities are great if there’s accessibility (a paved path with sloping curbs for wheels, vs. a gravel slopey thing). I seem to remember Samantha Brennan at UWO mentioning that her department has cycling jaunts together.
A dying form of sociability: playing cards. It’s okay if no one knows the rules, that’s what the gatherings are for. Best if this is a “let’s learn to play games most people are forgetting” gathering and not a masculinity-reinforcing “poker night”.
I’ve seen board-game nights or charades succeed, but only with group leaders who were really successful at maintaining a non-competitive, more relaxed and fun atmosphere. (After all, if the social events all involve someone winning, then after awhile some will be sick of losing at every social event.)
If you’re not too averse to beer, then trivia nights and karaoke nights at local pubs are a possibility. My department has a running team, with runners of all levels taking part in local fun runs together. Of course, this is not inclusive of people with mobility challenges (unfortunately), but it doesn’t seem especially gendered, at least to my eye.
I’m a big fan of brunch. It’s also less explicitly drinking-centered, and may be easier for people who family obligations make late night activities difficult.
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