CAS News

Launching the First-Year Experience: CAS Café Promotes Community Learning

CAS began a new and innovative program for freshmen earlier this month when it hosted the first-ever CAS Café. Nearly 70 students and faculty joined together for a discussion of Michael Pollan’s provocative book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.

The CAS Café is a major initiative resulting from last year’s Report of the Task Force on the First-Year Experience. CAS Café events provide food for thought, food for body, and lively, but informal, conversation among students and faculty.

“We are turning a new page in the history of the College,” notes Dean Sapiro. “Last year, we examined how we can do a better job of welcoming our newest students, integrating them into our community, and giving them a firm foundation to be successful throughout their careers at BU and later. Our task force investigation showed that if students get to know even one professor well, preferably in informal contacts outside of class during their first year, their chances of success go up dramatically. So, we have organized events such as the CAS Café that give students the opportunity to meet with faculty in a way that has nothing to do with a particular class.”

Based on feedback received by the Office of Student Programs & Leadership, the Café kickoff was a tremendous success. As one first-year student wrote, “I loved the fact that we could just talk about general knowledge with very intelligent professors and teachers. The intimidation that I sometimes feel when talking to these intellectuals faded in the course of the evening. It made me realize just how great of a learning environment BU is and how much it thrives to support its students. Thank you!”

The second CAS Café will take place on Wednesday, October 7, at 7 p.m. in the Trustee Ballroom, 1 Silber Way. Shahla Haeri, associate professor of anthropology and director of the Women’s Studies Program, will discuss her experiences this summer in Iran during the period of the elections and protests over the disputed results. For a refresher on the situation this summer, click here.

To register or to receive more information, e-mail the Office of Student Programs & Leadership at