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Student Affairs and Academic Support

  • students having dinner at their instructor's home

Dinner Dialogues

Students who interact with their instructors in and out of class are more successful. Through Dinner Dialogues, instructors can host their students for dinner at their homes, where conversations can help build community among class members. And, thanks to a grant from the Parents Annual Fund, there's little or no cost.

No Dinner Dialogues through fall 2021

Thank you for your interest in hosting a Dinner Dialogues event. Unfortunately, due to current public health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, we will not be accepting applications for the fall 2021 semester. It is our hope to reopen this program as soon as it is safe to do so. Thank you for your understanding.


  • To be eligible to participate in Dinner Dialogues, you must be the instructor of record for an undergraduate class at the Columbia campus.
  • You must host the dinner at your home -- not at the home of a teaching assistant or graduate/peer leader, in a restaurant or on campus.
  • The dinner must be held between the dates of the first and last day of classes in the semester the course is offered. It also cannot be held on Reading Day or during final exams.
  • You will be reimbursed up to $10 per undergraduate student enrolled in the class. Due to university purchasing guidelines, no money will be distributed prior to the dinner. 
  • No alcoholic beverages may be served during the dinner, regardless of the students’ ages.
  • Do not pay for decorations or activities using Dinner Dialogues funds. You will be reimbursed only for food and food items (paper plates, utensils, napkins, etc.).



Submit the Dinner Dialogues application two weeks prior to your event so it can be reviewed for approval.

“I have taught for 1O+ years and participated in the Dinner Dialogues opportunity every year available. It is always one of my favorite ways to engage with my students and always one of my students' favorite ways to get to know each other.”

participating instructor, fall 2017 

Tips for Faculty Hosts

  • We recommend seeking the input of your class to set the date and time of your event. Keep in mind the time of year and be aware of other campus events when choosing your date.
  • Feel free to serve whatever food you would like. Whether it’s local cuisine, your favorite international dish or takeout pizza, have some fun and get creative.
  • Holding this dinner at your house lets the students observe you in a different atmosphere and get to know you as a person. If you worry about not having enough room in your house, get creative and look to other parts of your house like your backyard. If your house is located far from campus, encourage your students to carpool and give them exact directions to your house.
  • Some instructors like to have set plans of something to do during dinner (board games, movies, etc.), while others like to see how the evening takes shape. It's up to you!



The Office of Parent and Family Programs follows university purchasing  guidelines for all Dinner Dialogue reimbursements. To be reimbursed  you must do the following:

  • Email a list of the email addresses of the students who attended the dinner to Need help pulling a list of email addresses? Follow the guide [pdf]
  • Provide a list of the names of the students who attended.
  • Submit your original, itemized receipts. 

The students' names and your receipts may be sent through campus mail or turned in to the Office of Parent and Family Programs, Russell House Suite 115.  

To ensure a timely reimbursement, please submit these items within five days of your dinner.


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