Cougar Walk was lined with a red-checkered picnic table cloth, stringed lights hanging above in the trees and a community atmosphere on Wednesday, Nov. 18, as SGA hosted The Table for the second year in a row.
The Table has proven to be a popular event among the APU community, as students, faculty and staff were in attendance. The event centers on Acts 2:42, which says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Before the meal, Acting President Dr. David Bixby opened in prayer.
“I want to thank Max [Walden, SGA president] and all of SGA for making this event a new APU tradition,” Bixby said.
Sophomore biblical studies major Daisy Romero has attended The Table both years.
“I felt more of a sense of community at the event this year as compared to last year,” Romero said. “It is a nice event to come together and eat delicious food, as well as have interesting dinner table conversation.”
The banquet-style dinner was provided by the university, with entrees such as pasta with marinara sauce, meatballs, salad, garlic bread, oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies.
“I did attend The Table last year and thought both this year and last year went very well,” said Dr. Jennifer Walsh, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The spontaneity of last year’s gathering was fun, but I did appreciate having some seats reserved for faculty and staff interspersed with seats for students, so that we could be sure to interact with lots of students.”
SGA wrote discussion questions on cards and placed them on each of the long tables. Some of the questions included: “How has APU changed you?” and “How do you plan on making an impact here?”
“Name tags helped—and I loved having some conversation starters highlighted on each table,” Walsh said. “We didn’t stick to those topics, but it gave our section something to talk about at first.”
Timothy Elofson, SGA university senator and sophomore youth ministry and humanities double major, said, “I hope that The Table provided a medium in which students were able to come with their questions, come with their own perspectives and feel like they were being heard.”
“SGA exists to help the student voice be heard on campus and to impact the student experience for the better,” he added. “If students came away from The Table with that sentiment, I could ask for nothing else.”
Elofson added that the conversations he had at The Table reaffirmed a sense of the body of Christ.
Jacova Snyder, SGA vice president and senior communication studies major, said she hopes The Table facilitated conversation and long-lasting relationships. She said that both this and last year’s student government sought to encourage and unify the university through the event.
“It’s an honor to carry on what last year’s team started for us, and we hope that it will continue to be a marker of our community as an annual tradition,” Snyder said. “SGA exists as a liaison between students and administration. We are supposed to be bridge builders, and we are constantly looking for creative and sustainable ways to live into that identity.”
Snyder added that she hoped people looked down the table and remembered they are not alone.
SGA president and senior physics major Max Walden said SGA hopes to establish The Table as an annual event during the fall semester.
“[As] more than simply a meal, The Table is a chance to connect people from all aspects of APU life,” Walden said. “We hope that this annual event will continue to instill a deep sense of unity into the very fabric of APU culture.”
Walden said he hopes The Table unites APU community members despite the problems the nation and world are facing.
“We hope that participants had the chance to meet people that they would have never otherwise met and discuss whatever may be on their minds in the hopes of becoming a closer and more connected community,” Walden said.