By VICTORIA MUNEVAR
Ever wonder what it would be like to eat a three-course dinner with the UMW President, Troy Paino, and his wife at their historic Brompton home? Ten lucky UMW students had that pleasure on Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Sophomore Michael Rivera was one of the ten students chosen to attend the dinner and loved his experience. “I learned a lot about how cool Paino and his wife are, as well as a lot about his personal life,” Rivera said.
Junior Theodosius Zotos was also one of the selected few and gave details about the general flow of the night. “The night started off with a brief tour of historical Brompton and the surrounding grounds. We then proceeded to dinner, dessert, and concluded the night with pictures and a group selfie,” explained Zotos.
Along with Rivera and Zotos, junior Jazmin Andrews attended the special dinner and said she did not know anything about Brompton’s history before visiting for the dinner, but Paino was very excited to show them how it played a crucial part in the Civil War.
Each dinner guest had the opportunity to talk to Paino about their time at UMW and more casual topics. “I had the chance to speak with Paino individually occasionally,” Zotos said, “but the majority of the night consisted of discussion at the dinner table. The conversations included, but not limited to, post-graduation aspirations, where we were from, why we came to UMW and what we like about UMW.”
Andrews thought it was very interesting that she was able to talk to Paino and his wife as normal people. “We all talked together as a group like a family at dinner,” Andrews said.
Rivera expressed that Paino made it clear that they could talk to him about anything and if they had questions later, they were free to talk to him through the year.
“I think the most interesting part of the night was when we had to explain to him what Pokémon Go was,” Rivera noted, “because he had seen people playing it on campus and was curious as to what it was.”
The actual meal received positive reviews as well as Paino. “The food was great,” Andrews said. “They served steak and potatoes, which is my favorite food, so I loved that.”
Rivera also described the food as absolutely phenomenal and Zotos raved over the crème brulee, since he was having it for the first time.
Overall, they all loved the idea of students having dinner with President Paino and felt that every student should try to be a part of this fun experience.
Zotos explained why the dinners are a particularly good method of engaging with students. “I think the opportunity is great for students. Because the process is random, it gives all students an equal chance of being selected. Having dinner is a great way to open up the floor for conversation.”
“I also think it’s really cool that the students get to have dinner with him,” Rivera said, “because it gets rid of the disconnect between him and the school which is beneficial for him and the students at UMW.”