Club & Greek

Political Science Club Hosts Third Poli-Tea of the Year

The Political Science Club hosted their third Poli-Tea of the year. Poli-Tea is a new tradition of the club, an ongoing event series that they created to promote various discussions over a cup of tea. Last Tuesday many students joined in the Terrell Boardroom in Bey Hall to enjoy a cup of Masala Chai tea, cookies, some Indian sweets and listen to students stories from their trip to India over winter break.

This was the third Poli-Tea even held on campus this semester. The first Tea was held in honor of students and faculty who are from various countries and cultures to speak about their personal experiences at the University. The second Tea was held in honor of the passing of Nelson Mandela, where students and faculty could express what he meant to them in their lives.

The group that traveled was compiled of students and professors, who all collectively put together a small slide show that had various pictures from the different events they attended while in India. Others who attended the tea were able to ask the group questions as well. According to the stories and presentation, the group’s trip was divided into three main academic settings. The focus was primarily on their work with a school in Calcutta India. The work was with a group of children who have had their hardships in life; most were orphaned or came from lower socio economic status.

One student who attended the trip told the story of a young girl he spoke to personally. The young girl was brought to the school after someone had tried to trick her to come join sex trafficking. He told the group how a man had come up to her and told her he found her mother, something that the child believed and she went with him. However, she was rescued by people on the street who noticed she shouldn’t have been with him. The young girl was brought to the school, where she now lives and receives her education.

The students spoke briefly of their involvement in other academic forums while abroad. They got a chance to interact with girls from Shri Shikshayatan College. The Faculty that went on the trip expressed their excitement with the group of University students who participated in the question and answer with the girls from the College. The group expressed fond memories of talking with the girls, and even spoke about how they all stay connected through a Facebook group they all joined. 

The last section the group presented on was the tourist attractions they got to attend. They spoke about their trip to the Taj Mahal, and various other historical locations in India. A large consensus from the group proved Calcutta to be their favorite city on the trip. A few students, in response to a question about if they could have stayed longer, replied by saying yes if it was in Calcutta.

Dr. Rekha Datta, associate professor of political science, said, “Poli-tea is a wonderful occasion where students, faculty, and staff  get together to exchange ideas, learn from one another, and get to know each other in a friendly, relaxed setting, enjoying a cup of tea, or two.”

Mainly the questions that went around the room focused largely on the food in India. The group responded positively to the food that they experienced, mentioning a large amount of it to be vegetarian. One of the student travelers spoke highly of the Chinese food that was served in the restaurants as well.

One question focused on the student’s involvement now, through the International Service Seminar the trip was a prelude to. They spoke of their commitment to the class, and the various fundraisers that they are planning to do in order to send money to the school in Calcutta so the girls could buy their mats that they sleep on. The group answered by saying there is a lot more compassion and willingness to do extra work in the class in order to help provide for the girls that they met. The personal relationships and stories that came out of their experience gives them something real to work for.

The event finished with more expressions of gratitude being shown from the faculty and students for the chance to go on the trip in the first place.

Dr. Joseph Patten, chair of the Political Science and Sociology department said, “Poli-Tea’s are a lot of fun because they’re a good way for people to come together in a social way and talk about things that are going on in the world, country, or on campus.  The point is not to listen to someone lecture, but to rather talk about things in a more informal and friendly way.  And it’s also a place where you don’t have to talk at all if you prefer not to – a place where you can also just sip good hot tea and relax with friends for a while.”

Datta concluded, “It is a wonderful community building effort put together by the Political Science Club, where everyone is made to feel welcome. If you haven’t attended any yet, please try to come to the next one. If you have attended previous meetings, we would love to see you again, and again.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Dr. Rekha Datta