Darden’s slogan is ‘high touch, high tone, high octane’. I have heard this slogan many times, seen it on flags, in PowerPoint presentations – now I pass road signs with the slogan every morning when driving to the Darden Grounds. For those of us already part of the Darden community, the slogan is like saying ‘the sky is blue’.
Let me reflect on the Darden ‘high touch’ experience, which refers to the high level of interaction between students, faculty, and staff. Although this term was initially in reference to the Darden classroom environment, the ‘high touch’ clearly extends outside the classroom. This last weekend is a good example of the Darden ‘high touch’ social scene.
Movies - Friday night, my wife and I met up with another Darden couple to see a late night movie
Darden Cup - On Saturday morning I joined my section at the Darden Cup event, which was a football tournament between the five first year sections. Over half of the first year class attended and most students that attended played football. My section was able to recruit our Decision Analysis professor to attend. I believe all 5 professors of another section attended.
LASA Fund Raiser - Saturday evening my wife and I joined two other Darden couples for dinner at a local restaurant. Darden’s Latin American Student Association (LASA) had organized for 12.5% of proceeds at this restaurant to be donated to survivors of the earthquake in Peru. This casual event was attended by close to two hundred students, faculty, and staff. From our table we could see students talking with Darden’s Director of Student Affairs and Darden’s Director of Admissions.
Learning Team - Sunday evening a member of my learning team cooked dinner for our team at her house. During dinner, we were joined by a second year student who provided advice on how to make the most of our learning team. Later we prepared for our Monday classes.
Compared to my undergraduate university, Darden has a very strong sense of community. Most of this is probably driven by the school size (310 in my class) and the school’s small town location (Charlottesville, VA).