Southern Oregon University students gathered in the Rogue River Room for the Alumni Etiquette Dinner on April 27. This is the fourth year the event has been hosted at SOU by Doreen O’Skea, Director of Alumni Relations.
The event included a free four-course meal and lessons in etiquette. The etiquette lesson touched on table manners and interview tips including language choice, presentation and resumes. These guidelines were illustrated through retellings of unfortunate interview experiences, student actors, and a little help from The Ellen DeGeneres show. Companies such as Scherr Consulting, Premier West Bank, Coming Attractions, as well as McNair Scholars and Dr. Donna Lane provided the food and professional company at no cost to the university.
“Good manners can take you to a variety of places…I think etiquette plays very importantly into job hunting especially with this job market, it can set you apart from the rest,” Assistant Director of Housing Eric Elordi said.
The dinner consisted of a vegetable soup, salad, pasta with asparagus and then chocolate mousse coupled with formal flatware and settings in the continental style, including slippery cherry tomatoes, oversized crunchy lettuce, soup and long noodles.
“We picked an almost intentionally difficult meal,” Elordi said.
Assistant Vice President of Business Development Marc Bayliss began by telling the crowd that “time, space and distance are all relative” in a social or business setting. “Be very careful with gestures,” Bayliss said. “Be sincere and smile, it sounds simple, but when you’re nervous it’s really hard to do,” Elordi said. “Stay positive about past employers because it is a small community.”
Robert Chikar, a student actor who performed alongside Elordi, appreciated the rules of etiquette. “Unfortunately there is not a large exposure to etiquette … you can make a critical error and not even know it. I unfortunately worked in the hotel business for eight years and it can be overwhelming, but once you know the rules, it is so helpful.”
Elordi announced that a year- long business etiquette course would be offered on a few Saturdays, including mentors in one’s major for three credits. O’Skea concluded that in these efforts, the Alumni Association hopes to “send students out with grace.”