When the School of Health Related Professions fires up its grills for a student cookout, Caroline Campbell gets much more out of it than free hot dogs and chips.
She gets to chat with students who aren't in her occupational therapy classes. If not for the hot dog line, she might never even greet them in a SHRP hallway.
"You might be standing with someone you don't know, and you get to talking," said Campbell, a Madison resident and first-year OT student. "I know some students in physical therapy, but X-ray technology and laboratory sciences - we don't know them as much. I'd enjoy getting to know others, especially out-of-town people who don't live here.
"You make friends in your own classes, but you might have a potential roommate who might be in another field. The cookouts are a great way to network."
Bringing SHRP's 648 students and 103 faculty together for social and learning activities is the goal of the school's dean, Dr. Jessica Bailey. She and other administrators want to unify academic departments, creating one central identity under the SHRP umbrella.
They're addressing a challenge that's existed for years: Students and teachers in different academic disciplines often don't know each other because their fields usually don't intersect.