As anyone who has ever been a graduate student can tell you, socializing with students outside your lab, much less your department, is not high on your list of priorities. Between the long hours, the distance between labs, and the normal human tendency to fall into routines, it’s rare for students from different departments to spend a great deal of time interacting. When Neuroscience GSA president Jay Garaycochea and Psychology GSA president James Mantell met to discuss how to use interdepartmental funding, they hit upon the idea of having a GSA-sponsored social where members of the clubs could get to know each other outside the usual confines of the university.
Four GSA’s took part in the event: Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Microbiology. A variety of ideas were considered, including a potluck dinner, a barbecue, a sporting contest, and a concert/movie, but ultimately we agreed that an evening at a bar would be the best way to get people to talk; there are few times when people are more likely to let their guard down than while eating and drinking with friends.
The social was held at the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery in downtown Buffalo. The restaurant is known for its house microbrews and vibrant atmosphere (never more so than on the night of a Sabres game). The event was held on December 18, 2012, right after classes ended, giving GSA members an opportunity to end the semester in style before winter break. Beer, pizza, chicken wings, hummus, carrots and celery, potato pancakes, and other items were provided courtesy of the GSA budget. The social officially began at 6:00 PM, with most students arriving by 7:00. Approximately fifty to sixty people showed up over the course of the night, most of whom stayed for several hours.