NORFOLK, Neb. – Fine china and silverware at each place setting may not be a common occurrence at the family dinner table on any given evening but recognizing how and when to use those special utensils as well as knowing which glass of water belongs to those around the table during a formal occasion could avoid an embarrassing scene when trying to impress others.
Agriculture students mind their manners at etiquette banquet
November 16, 2022 7:22 AM
Approximately 120 students in Northeast Community College’s agriculture and horticulture programs had the opportunity recently to put their formal social skills to use during an etiquette banquet at the College’s Lifelong Learning Center.
Bob Noonan, agriculture instructor, who helped organize of the event, was pleased with student participation.
“We had nearly perfect attendance from the students, and though freshman tend to be fairly shy, we had good participation from the student group as well,” he said. “The Collegiate Farm Bureau Club officers on campus also helped with organizing and running the event, as well as being at tables as mentors for the students. I think the students will use a lot of the information that my wife, Shelley, taught them this evening.”
The origins of the etiquette banquet at Northeast began in 2013 after Career Services Director Terri Heggemeyer had conversations with some instructors and campus leadership student groups. She said that proper dining etiquette is an important component that students need to know when they are in a formal dinner setting. Since that time, the popular event has continued with programs offering the occasion to their students.
Designed as a formal event, the etiquette banquet begins with a networking session where guests mingle and communicate with fellow students and College faculty and staff. They are then seated at assigned tables and hear Shelley Noonan, a certified etiquette instructor, offer dining etiquette and networking advice. Guests are then served a four-course meal where they put what they heard from Shelley Noonan to practice. Chartwells, the food service provider at the College, prepares and serves the meal.
Prior to the event, the students had the opportunity to get professional headshots they may use on social media or attach to their resumes. In addition, many of the students in attendance participated in a clinic that featured a demonstration on how to properly tie a necktie. Northeast graduate Rob Thomas, now an agronomist with Farmer’s Pride Coop in Madison, led the mostly male students during the clinic.
Bob Noonan said the etiquette banquet will pay dividends for the students for years to come.
“I think the students will use almost, if not all the information they learned tonight. I have had many students come up to or contact me about how they attended a professional event such as this meal and were so grateful they knew what to do and have at least an idea of what good manners look like,” he said. “Much of what Shelley talks about in her speech about manners is summed up at the end of her talk where she quotes (manners expert) Emily Post, 'Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of other. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.’”
Northeast Community College graduate Rob Thomas, now an agronomist Farmer’s Pride Coop in Madison, demonstrates the proper way to tie a necktie to agriculture students prior to the start of an etiquette banquet recently at the College. Approximately 120 students in Northeast’s agriculture and horticulture programs had the opportunity recently to put their formal social skills to use during an etiquette banquet at the College’s Lifelong Learning Center.