Beginning in 2010-2011 UMW students were randomly selected to attend dinner at the historic Brompton house with President Hurley and his wife. This year, students who were especially interested had the opportunity to place their name in the lottery and hope to be selected. Each student is allowed to choose a guest to join them. My roommate was chosen and on Nov. 15; I was able to join her.
We were welcomed with open arms and were given a tour of the house.
“I think Brompton is a beautiful, historic home that students should be proud to call the home of their president,” Hurley said.
Individual pictures were taken as mementos and a group picture was taken to be placed in the house’s guest book. This tour provided a rare opportunity to step into Brompton, view the artifacts, and see how our president and his family spend their days.
The dinner was served and the discussion commenced. Hurley asked us questions about our lives and our experiences at Mary Washington. He took a moment to explain the reasoning behind inviting students to his house. First, he said that he wanted to give each attendee a memory that we will hold onto after we graduate.
More importantly, he asked us what positive experiences we have had during our college career and where there is room for improvement at our institution. We all agreed that there could be more school spirit. Hurley agreed and a solution was presented. There have been talks of having tents set up at athletic games with free food, prizes and maybe even a 21-plus section where beer will be served. Hurley emphasized his idea of having a pep band at these events, something about which he is excited to see come to life in the future. He described the dinner as “a great opportunity to tell the president what is on your mind.” And it was. Each of us was able to tell the president directly what we think about our school knowing that we would be heard.
I hope students place their name in the lottery to have dinner with the president. Not only is the food delicious, but each of us was able to speak directly to the head of our university and express our praises and ideas and hear feedback. While the dinners for this semester have ended, there is still an opening for dinners in the spring semester. The deadline to sign up online is Feb. 2.
“I hope students who have not signed up to attend one of the lottery dinners will do so because I think most of the students who have attended would tell you that it is a fun experience that you probably wouldn’t experience at another institution,” encouraged Hurley.
Caitlin Sheehan is a senior.