Committed to Community
Among some 30 student clubs and organizations at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Cummings Gather pursues a unique mission to build community among all its campus members through social activities and networking events.
“The events don’t have a technical or scientific perspective, but they fill an important need on campus—a sense of community,” says Rafael Senos (he/him), assistant professor of veterinary anatomy and faculty supervisor of the club. “We kind of lost some of that during the pandemic. This also provides students a place to interact with faculty outside the classroom.”
Tom Lampl, V25 (he/him), a Cummings Gather E-Board member, shares, “In addition to building connections and developing friendships, we believe there is great value in ‘turning off’ work and school occasionally, and spending time with your peers is a fun way to do it.”
During the fall semester, Gather hosted three well-attended events: a Fall Mixer, a Halloween Costumes & Karaoke Night, and a Trivia Night co-hosted with the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Faculty-Student Engagement Committee.
“Many first-year DVM students attended the mixer,” says E-Board Member Jenise Carter, V25 (she/her). “It provided a space to de-stress from the chaos that the first few weeks of vet school can bring.”
Gather offers beverages and music at each gathering, where different types of glassware are sold to raise funds to help cover the cost of hosting events. “The glassware follows our club’s theme of socializing with responsible drinking,” Carter says.
Offered for the first time by Cummings Gather, students from all classes showcased their creativity with some great costumes and their musical talent at the Halloween Costumes & Karaoke Night, according to Carter, as a team of faculty members judged the costume contest.
“Gather has developed a love for karaoke,” Lampl explains, “which began as small gatherings in [David] McGrath [Teaching Laboratory] after anatomy exams, but we have since expanded to include karaoke at many of our other Gather social events. We love encouraging our peers to sing; it’s great fun and our community is full of incredibly talented vocalists.”
The 2nd annual Trivia Night was Gather’s first off-campus event since the COVID shutdown of campus. Twenty teams of five students and a faculty member competed at the event, held at Town House Tavern in Grafton. Those in attendance included Cummings School Dean Alastair Cribb and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Nicholas Frank.
“We have a small community, so these social events are important, especially for those students that don’t have family nearby,” Senos contends. “Informal gatherings help us realize how much we have in common, whether you are a student, a professor, or staff member.”
Events planned for the spring include co-hosting another Salsa Night with the School’s Latinx Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA) club and co-sponsoring a second Springfest with the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs.
Last spring, some 300 individuals attended Springfest, featuring a catered lunch, volleyball and other lawn games, and a live band. The event connected on campus community members with alumni in attendance and served as a replacement for the annual Fur Ball, which will return this spring after a hiatus due to the pandemic.
“Springfest may look different this year, but we hope it becomes a Cummings Gather ‘signature’ event,” says Lampl.
“Whether you’re a student, faculty, or staff member, it is never too late to join Gather,” Carter says, “So come relax with peers who share your Cummings School experience.”