Tanuja Singh connects with students at President’s Lunch

University of Indianapolis’ President Tanuja Singh attended her first President’s Lunch on Oct. 7th, according to UIndy 360. The event was from 12 p.m. and concluded at 2 p.m. with a pep rally to close, according to UIndy 360. Singh said that the event was a way to get to know the campus community in a more informal setting.

“I have met with a lot of people in other settings for ice cream socials and through alumni lunches, etc.,” Singh said. “But this is one where we can combine the fun part of UIndy with a little bit of the formal part of UIndy and really get to know people in that setting, in a very fun, uplifting environment, celebrating UIndy, celebrating our students, celebrating our alumni, celebrating our faculty and all the successes.”

Singh said connecting with the university community and the external community is one of the most important things a president can do. Events such as the President’s Lunch are a way to bridge the gap between the president, the student body, the faculty and alumni, Singh said.

“I’m hoping to hear from [alumni] about what is it that keeps them connected to UIndy and what is it that keeps them connected to the university,” Singh said. “I’m hoping to have these very informal conversations. …Homecoming is not a formal event, it’s a very informal event, a celebration, and I’m hoping to talk to them about what it is about their experience that makes it special.”

UIndy Vice President of Community and Corporate Communications Andrew Kocher said the President’s Lunch was a way for Singh to express her plans for the future of UIndy. According to Kocher, the event is different compared to the past iterations.

“The two biggest differences for this year’s lunch is one, the new president because people want the opportunity to meet her and hear what she has to say,” Kocher said. “The other thing is we’re intentionally designing the event to have a lot of opportunities just for campus spirit and campus excitement. So we’ll have performances by the pep band, the dance team, the cheerleaders along with some remarks from Coach Keever, our football coach.”

According to UIndy’s website, Singh is the second president since the President’s Lunch has been an event. Singh said that this was a way to publicly set a new vision for the university.

“[It is] an excellent opportunity for us to set the vision. We have been talking about where UIndy needs to be in the city, where we need to be in the state and where we need to be in the world. This is a first glimpse that I hope to share about what our vision is collectively,” Singh said. “Where are we going to be in the next three to five years? What are the biggest opportunities that we have? What are some of the challenges we need to address? So I’m really excited because as they say, it’s a different leadership.”

Kocher said that the event is a way to show how UIndy works best, as it thrives when everyone in the community celebrates together. According to Singh, the planning process for the President’s Lunch has been a fluid collaboration between the event’s coordinators. 

“The process has been organic as we have spoken with each other. I’m learning a lot from the team that already exists here and said, ‘Hey, these are some of the things that people love.’ So everything we are doing is in conversation with people for whom this event is being put together,” Singh said.

According to Singh, her favorite part about her position is when she is able to connect with students on a personal level in events such as these. Singh said she hopes attendees from the President’s Lunch can understand that the university is one that exists for the success of its students.

“I hope they take away from this event that what we do here, ultimately a university is meant to be a university, exists for the success of its students. We hope to prepare connected, impactful citizens who care about the world,” Singh said. “I hope that they see that this is the kind of place where we care about our students, and then, in turn, we know that they care about the world. So I hope they go home feeling excited about the future.”

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