NU-Q Events Face Lack of Attendance by Faculty and Staff Members


Photo by Urooj Kamran Azmi

The Wildcat spirit is missing, say students at Northwestern University in Qatar, who want to know why faculty and staff at the university don’t attend its student-sponsored events.

The low participation by the faculty and staff became particularly noticeable during Go Wild Week this year, a week that includes annual events like the Purple Fest carnival and the Oscars-style media awards, said students.

“Especially during this year’s Go Wild Week, there was a major lack of faculty and staff attendance, most importantly, during the dodge ball game,” said Mayar Hamdan, events coordinator for NU-Q Student Union. “It’s always the same familiar faces that show up to events.”

The dodge ball game is NU-Q’s annual tradition where students play against faculty and staff. However, this year, the faculty/staff turnout was so low that students had to play on the faculty/staff side to balance the team sizes. Not one faculty member was present at the game.

But several faculty and staff members cited the lack of advance notification and the timing of the events as reasons for their low participation.

“If it is on a weekend, I might not be able to attend as there are tasks, errands and commitments that I keep for the weekend,” said Allwyn Tellis, a lecturer in the communication program at NU-Q. “Being informed in advance so that I can make the time to attend has sometimes been the issue.”

Tellis said low participation by faculty and staff members is a phenomenon that is found at every institution, but is more obvious and significant at NU-Q because of the small size of its community.

Director of Student Affairs, Greg Bergida, said the overall participation by faculty and staff at student events is not low.

“Taking a look across the board at event attendance, there is a lot of attendance that does get done across the year, especially at the athletic events where even the dean often joins us,” Bergida said.

Bergida said this year’s Go Wild Week may have seen low attendance by faculty and staff because it coincided with the visit by students from Northwestern’s main campus.  Because of that, multiple events took place on the same days.

Dean Everette Dennis also hosted events for faculty and staff, Bergida said, making it difficult for them to attend student events.

“A lot of programming gets done throughout the year. Faculty and staff also have a lot of responsibilities outside of school—they have families and children and others plans on the weekends,” Bergida added.

Hamdan said although a lot of advertising was done this year and some people were even personally invited, event organizers would focus more on word of mouth in the future, which seems to increase faculty and staff attendance.

“It would definitely increase the school spirit if faculty members attend events and it would allow students to socialize and get to know their professors outside of the classroom,” said Afnan Nehela, a freshman student at NU-Q. “However, it is understandable [that they don’t show up], considering their very busy schedules.”


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