One Saturday each semester, Thomas Aquinas College students venture off-campus for a relaxing evening of dining and conversation at the home of one of their tutors. These evenings are a longstanding and beloved campus tradition — the section dinner.
A “section” at Thomas Aquinas College is a group of about 17 students who, for the duration of the academic year, take all their daytime classes together. The idea behind organizing classes this way stems from the College’s use of the Socratic Method.
Because the method depends on open discourse — which, in turn, relies on trust — it is important for students to come to know each other well. By taking nearly all of their classes together, the members of each section achieve a sense of intimacy and come to rely on one another in their shared pursuit of the truth. Section dinners offer a good opportunity for students and tutors to enrich these friendships.
One or two of the section’s tutors hosts each dinner, joined by their spouses and children. The group plays games, engages in lively conversations, and delights in a good meal in an informal setting. In addition to fostering camaraderie, the evenings also help relieve any lingering sense of homesickness by allowing students to enjoy home cooking in the company of the tutors’ loving families.
Posted November 14, 2011