Smith student Philip Peker ’18 writes about the Stacks on Smith event for undergraduates at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The event was held in Van Munching Hall on Dec. 14, 2015, during finals week.
It’s the most dreaded, vilified, and painful week of the semester. No, not Shark Week. Finals Week. Students at the University of Maryland know too well when it’s Finals Week; sleep becomes a forgone luxury, and eating either a temporary solution to avoid work or the only break you get from studying. Of course, fun, becomes but a forgotten fairytale, obliterated by the reality of final exams. But for one night, this is not the case.
On Dec. 14, Smith faculty and staff hosted Stacks on Smith, a pancake night for Smith students. Professors from the business school stood at ready, spatula in hand, apron covering their winter sweaters, and carrying a beaming smile on the side, ready to give students, not another lecture, but another portion of pancakes. There was an assortment of toppings to go along with the pancakes – fruit, nuts, sprinkles, sauces, Nutella, you name it – as well as plenty of sausage and bacon to go around. Amidst all the finals panic, Stacks on Smith was an easy-going, cozy, and hearty evening shared mutually by professors, faculty and students outside of formal settings.
The idea for this evening was originally borne three years ago out of an initiative by the Dean’s Student Advisory Council (DSAC) to build community and new traditions at the Smith School. “It was an approach with laughter at first, it was a little bit silly,” said Dean Victor Mullins. Sometimes, the silliest ideas, end up being the ones that stick! This event has grown from just a few seniors to over two hundred Smith students from all graduating classes enjoying quality time together.
As the doors opened, and the hungry students flooded in, the room lit up with energy. For an hour or so, the worries of final papers, projects, exams, and grades disappeared into the night. “I really appreciate this gesture from Smith. You know, I’m hungry, tired, bogged down with finals, no time to cook, no time to relax, so having this event is really amazing,” admitted Veronica Proudford, a junior marketing major at Smith. Meeting new people, catching up with acquaintances and friends, and connecting with professors outside the classroom, all around a shared love for food…it doesn’t get better than that.
Students are not the only ones that look forward to this event every year. Teachers embrace the opportunity to connect with students outside the classroom. “We are not just talking heads that talk about accounting, or finance, you know. We have a life outside of that,” said Progyan Basu, an accounting professor at Smith. “We have enough professional events each year, so this event is that much more valuable,” Basu continued, as he stacked the pancakes on a student’s plate, sky-high.
For me too, it was a well-needed break from the unending onslaught of finals work, and a much needed pancake fix.
That night, Smith helped fight the finals fever, one stack at a time.