The scents of fine finger foods filled the air in the Peplow Pavilion of the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center. Students and alumni were dressed in business casual attire, hoping that the night would provide great networking opportunities.
The Student Alumni Association hosted the first “Appetizers with Alums” event Tuesday night.
The event’s purpose was to teach students proper etiquette when navigating business dinners and corporate social events. Etiquette specialist, Callista Gould, gave the presentation before students broke off to meet with alumni, showcasing the skills attendees had just learned moments prior.
Gould is a certified etiquette instructor and founder of the Culture and Manners Institute, an organization dedicated to teaching etiquette and instilling confidence around the world.
She has 20 years of business experience from global brands to a start up in the tech world. Gould has worked for Sony Music in Chicago conducting marketing and event planning for musical artists such as Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Ozzy Osborne and Korn.
“I had the opportunity to see how a lot of artists behave behind the scenes,” Gould said. “You see how there are some very talented musicians that you may never know because they were awful to deal with behind the scenes, and then no one wanted to promote them.”
The first part of the night showcased Gould’s etiquette techniques and how to use them. It was broken up into three segments. One, greeting people with enthusiasm; two, gathering information; and three, following up with someone you meet.
Additionally, Gould expressed what types of wine glasses there are, how they are different, how to hold certain glasses and how to hold a glass and plate at the same time.
The second part of the night saw students and alumni casually eating hors d’oeuvres, franks in a blanket and bread and hummus over classical music.
For those who attended, they took away lessons that they had never seen before.
“I learned a lot of little etiquette lessons from the first part of the event like the difference between a red wine glass and a white wine glass and what temperature the wine is served at,” Aaron Coulombe, a sophomore nursing major, said.
And for others it helped them acquire skills to make valuable connections.
“I am going to use it at job fairs and stuff like that,” said Mary Kate Paetow-Fanning, senior sociology major. “At my internship right now, I have been meeting a lot of people, so these are helpful skills for networking with those people and hopefully [I can] reach out when I am closer to graduation in May and make those connections.”
According to Gould, etiquette is much more than what people think it to be and that it is about connecting to one another.
“You know a lot of people think etiquette is just a bunch of stuffy rules, but it is really just being aware of people and attentive to their needs,” Gould said. “Really, the number one rule of etiquette is to break any rule of etiquette to make the people around us feel comfortable and so that never goes out of fashion and that’s really the foundation of it.”