Conversations Around The Table

by Rebekah Bruckner

A wonderfully warm fall evening on Azusa Pacific University’s Cougar Walk proved the perfect backdrop for a meal shared between classmates, coworkers, colleagues, and new friends. Lights twinkled above a long table that stretched from the post office to Marshburn Library where 250 APU community members gathered for a special dinner. The aroma of freshly prepared food and the sounds of conversation and gentle laughter added to the inviting atmosphere.

“I love our community's habit of coming together at The Table,” said President Jon R. Wallace, DBA. “This is the fourth year of this Student Government Association tradition that inspires meaningful conversation over a shared meal.”

“As people of faith, we break bread with others in our practice of Holy Communion,” said James Whitfield ’18, president of Student Government Association (SGA) and a physics major. “By inviting students, faculty, and staff to join together, this event provides the opportunity for us to reflect that practice in a unique way.” This year’s theme centered on fostering unity within the APU community. “This is a time to congregate, to create bonds that wouldn’t be shared without this common experience.”

Faith Pavlisin ’18, a communication major, who serves as SGA speaker of the house, headed this year’s event. “We desired to provide a space where attendees would feel relaxed and refreshed, an environment where people would be comfortable enough to engage with others they may not have met before.”

Both Pavlisin and Whitfield witnessed significant moments of connection between those around the table. As they made their way down Cougar Walk, they heard conversations taking place between nursing students and political science majors, faculty from different departments, and staff members and students. Discussion cards placed upon the tables, laid out as optional conversation starters, often went unused as organic interactions flowed. “Real, honest communication took place that touched on important topics and brought about productive results,” said Pavlisin.

SGA serves as a voice for the collective student body that connects students, staff, and faculty members. “Our hope for The Table was truly lived out, fulfilling our mission to cultivate collective engagement,” said Pavlisin.

Learn more about SGA on their website.

Rebekah Bruckner ’18 is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a English major and a graphic design minor.