Enjoying coffee and conversation outside Hinderaker Hall has long been a morning tradition at UC Riverside.
It’s a scene that has been missing for the past 15 months. But in a sign of the return to in-person operations in the fall, a crowd once again gathered on a recent bright Tuesday morning to sip coffee and eat doughnuts.
The coffee socials, organized by Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, began July 20 and will continue every Tuesday at 9 a.m. through the summer. Each week is hosted by a different campus leader. Faculty and staff members are invited to join for free coffee, doughnuts, and vegetables from R'Garden. Employees coming onto campus must fill out the COVID-19 Daily Wellness Check.
Wilcox described the get-togethers as a chance to connect in ways sometimes missing in Zoom interactions.
“What we lost really are chances to see people, talk to people, and have casual conversations,” he said. “This is another step toward a little sense of normalcy.”
Allan Knight, a professor of computer science and engineering, was among those attending this week to get a chance to meet people in person. It was a new experience for him as he was hired right before the pandemic and has been working remotely for most of his time as a faculty member at UCR.
“It’s just part of the excitement of things opening up,” he said.
Elliot Emmer, associate director of development with University Advancement, said it was fun to see colleagues again and meet new people.
“It’s what makes the campus accessible,” he said. “It’s a nice way to start the morning.”