Long Table Conversations
The long table, used for centuries by families to gather, break bread, and share their day is proving to be just as popular with students in its modern-day iteration as the central focal point of Koerner’s Pub. Students sit next to UBC staff and faculty, collaborating with classmates, sharing meals, and if the mood comes over them, shooting some pool.
After a much-needed renovation, the pub officially reopened in October 2013 and has become a chosen campus hangout ever since. UBC alumnus Tim Yu is behind the vision for the redesign and crafted each of the pub’s long tables—a key focal point in the space—by hand.
Informal communal encounters across disciplines tend to happen at Koerner’s. General manager Brittany Yu believes that the intentional design of the long tables “really encourages students to mix and be social. It’s cool to see very different groups of students from different faculties and backgrounds sparking up conversations and making new friends.”
On-campus social spaces offer more than a chance to test a flight of new beers—they offer students definitive places when they can choose to interact and aggregate around an idea or shared interest, open up to new people, and hopefully gain a deeper sense of community in the process.
Caitlin Funk, 5th-year English Honours and French Minor, who is also a front of house supervisor, trainer and server at Koerner’s, is inspired by the conversations that organically spring up between people who sit across the table from one another, who may or may not have arrived together or belong to the same faculty but connect over a shared passion or interest.
“I get inspired when I chat with others about what they’re passionate about,” says Funk. “Do you have any notion of how awesome it is to chat with someone who is so unbelievably passionate about what they do, that their eyes sparkle and they can’t help but smile as they tell you about it? Goodness, I hope you do.”
Long-table conversations offer a sense of inclusiveness, where undergraduates and graduates alike can see a different world view—even if it’s just over lunch, or observing from over the top of a book—and find that learning can take the shape of time spent with friends.