On Wednesday, October 29 – the Equity & Inclusion office worked with students to pilot the first ever “Apples for Profs” event at UBC. The inspiration for this event came from consultation work with faculty, many of whom reported feeling increasingly unappreciated in their roles as instructors, because some have been struggling to connect with their students in the classroom. UBC is comprised of a diverse student population, some of which come from cultures where gift-giving [for instructors] is commonplace, whereas others are of backgrounds where this practice is discouraged. The symbolism of the quintessential “apple” is familiar for many North American instructors and students. Historically speaking, this symbol comes from the 17th or 18th century, where poorer farmers in Northern Europe and the United States would pay their children’s teachers with food, such as apples and potatoes. With the help of Land and Food Systems Undergraduate Society members (LFS|US) and Agora Cafe volunteers, we handed out 480 apples locally sourced from the UBC Botanical Garden (Apple Festival 2014) to students, who were encouraged to write notes of appreciation to accompany their apples.
The event was well-received by students – most of them were happy to see a “no strings attached” event happen on campus.
This is the official Equity & Inclusion Office article about the event: http://equity.ubc.ca/2014/10/30/starting-a-new-tradition-apples-for-ubc-profs/
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We are looking to improve this tradition for the future, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comment box below.