Minerva’s Midday is a weekly event that focuses on providing life skills for UNC-Greensboro students.
The program was started by Coordinator Vincent Justiniano, UNCG graduate assistant, and newly graduated intern Shara Cotton for Campus Activities and Programs (CAP).
Justiniano described starting this initiative as something he had a strong connection to. Along with Cotton, they secured a budget, booked reservations and contacted professional and student groups about hosting Minerva’s Midday sessions.
Cotton states that although they are the contacts for coordinating these events, CAP showed noteworthy support for the project.
“Minerva’s Middays exists to offer low cost, life skills related programming to students,” said Cotton.
She hopes that these opportunities for experiential learning outside the classroom will be useful in people’s daily lives, and help them to develop holistically as community members.
Justiniano said that he heard students saying they wished they had known about certain topics yet did not have the chance because they were not concepts typically taught in academic classes.
“We are hoping to bridge that potential gap and provide the experiential learning piece for many students interested in attending,” Justiniano said.
Vincent said that he found one event interesting: the Transfer and Adult Student Union hosted a session about spartan traditions.
The event discussed graduation preparation, campus cheers, songs and walks to the Minerva Statue to place apples.
“It was fun, clever and something very unique to this campus,” Justiniano said of the traditions surrounding Minerva.
Cotton stated she had learned much from attending Spartan Traditions as a first year graduate student. “It really made me feel more connected to the campus,” she stated.
Other events included Jonathan Adams’ “Get the Job,” diversity discussion, travel tips, safety session and campus safety.
The comedy speech talked about key facts, figures and suggestions about how to successfully navigate the job market.
“I think they’ve all been incredible and unique events, but what stands out in my memory most was the Couponing Creativity session,” Cotton said. “I really learned a lot from that session.”
The Minerva’s Midday series presents beneficial programs to students, such as understanding student debt and its long-term ramifications.
The programs also include knowing what to do if there is an active shooter on campus, discussing intersectionality and how different identity groups can be salient to people.
“These are things important to know for survival,” Justiniano said.
Cotton believes that faculty, staff and students of any age or classification could learn from the sessions.
Things like taking advantage of coupons, learning resume and job search skills and participating in diversity are beneficial, especially for students.
The events are free, hosted in the middle of the day.
Justiniano stated that studies show many non-traditional students are available in the middle of the day, and that this timing contributes to greater chances of reaching that population.
“All students can learn and improve in these areas from first year undergraduates to doctoral students,” Cotton said.
Both the coordinators said they advocate for low cost programming and doing as much as possible with the funding or resources available.
Cotton said that the topics in the series are ones she had not received during her undergraduate experience and hopes that by participating in this series, she can help students have more information for their lives.
“I think the opportunities are nearly limitless with how these programs can be put to practical use by students on this campus,” Cotton said.
Future events may include cooking classes, technology and financial information regarding taxes and credit cards.
“This semester was our first semester doing this,” Justiniano said. “I think this has been a great start for this style of programming and would be something I’d love to see grow in the future.”