It’s Friday, 11:45 am, and in the atrium of the Interdisciplinary Research Building at USF students & faculty with coffee mugs begin to appear and gather around for a new USF Reclaim social: “Tea Time.” Recent USF PhD graduate and “Tea Time” initiator, Dr. Matt Verbyla provides an assortment of tea bags and electric kettles are set-up for a hot cup of tea. These 15-20 minutes in the atrium have become an open space and a welcomed break for our USF Reclaim research team. “Tea Time” provides a time to gather and catch up with peers in our department, provide insight on each other’s research, encourage one another, and brainstorm ways that we can continue to #Reclaim! Afterwards, we all head over to the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Seminar where every week we have a guest speaker that covers a topic relevant to a global challenge and how they are uniquely contributing to solving it. Check out the seminar schedule here.
The “Tea Time” idea was well received by students and faculty. Dr. Jeffrey Cunningham especially encourages USF graduate students “Tea Time” and recalls that as a graduate student at Stanford University he would also have a similar tradition that he says “helped to foster a valuable esprit de corps.”
“Building a strong network and community among our graduate students helps everybody in a number of ways. It helps you now because you learn from your peers and you know whom to ask when you have questions; it helps you later because you will have a professional network of your fellow graduates from our program; and it just makes life more enjoyable when you feel that you are part of a community, rather than working in isolation… We have a very strong faculty and a very strong group of students here at USF, and I am very proud of our program, but I do believe that our program can be made even stronger by building these traditions and culture. “– Dr. Cunningham
Check out our USF Reclaim Tea Time video here: https://youtu.be/skvEa5eNJiY
Do you have a “Tea Time” break at your school, university, or workplace? We’d like to see them! Share your pictures on our FB page of your “Tea Time” break, and how you are building a culture that encourages a sense of community, support, and new ideas for innovations and solutions to our present environmental challenges. As always, remember: There is no such thing as waste. Everything can be #Reclaimed!