Walking into class on Jan. 19, a table of plates, knives, water glasses and napkins awaited me. A social and business etiquette class was offered this semester for the first time at UD.
For six weeks, 20 students from varying majors will learn the proper way to set a table, how to interact with business professionals through written correspondence and conversation, and how to react to life-changing events such as weddings and funerals. Team-taught by Ricki Huff, the assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Arlene Camacho, head of Career Services, and Paula Braley, administrative assistant in the international studies department, the class offers basics in etiquette that could make or break an interview or dinner party.
“Taking this class was a decision I made for my future,” said senior public relations major Rachel Olszewski. “You never know the kinds of experiences you’re going to have or the people you’re going to meet. This class has been a preparation for me to deal with all kinds of potentially embarrassing social and business situations. I feel that I’ll be able to take all the skills I’m learning out into the ‘real world’ and apply them to everyday life.”
Braley’s collection of etiquette books dating back to 1884 shows the evolution of etiquette through the years. It is no longer necessary to learn the proper way to exit a carriage, but recent books, such as Emily Post on Etiquette, explains table manners, tipping and relationships. A “graduation” reception will be held for the students with guests from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the UD Mother’s Club — a testing ground to see just how much these students have learned.