Small Plates, Big Ideas

The Small Plates, Big Ideas program is a student success initiative that pairs promising students with select alumni for meals during the academic year. These meals, scheduled by the Office of Alumni and Donor Relations (OAR), give students an opportunity to meet alumni for focused discussions and career networking, while participating alumni have the chance to provide informal mentorship to students in a group setting.

Each event — which can range from four to 10 attendees, depending upon the host's preference — can encompass coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner or appetizers. OAR will work with key campus partners to schedule and promote each opportunity, as well as screen, select and prepare student participants.

If you are interested in hosting a Small Plates, Big Ideas meal, contact Alumni Volunteer Coordinator Kim Easley at

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens at Small Plates, Big Ideas?
The first 15 minutes include a meet-and-greet, followed by one hour for the meal. During that time, the alumni host will discuss their career path and professional experience, while students share their own career plans and ask questions. The final 15 minutes include a roundtable discussion about various topics brought up during the meal.

When are the events held?
Meals are scheduled at a time that is convenient for the alumni and participating students, and are generally held from September through May each academic year.

Where are the events held?
Most meals take place on campus at Tierney Alumni House (5510 Woodward). This is generally the most convenient location for students, but meals can be held just about anywhere. OAR will help hosts identify a location that works for everyone.

How are alumni hosts selected?
OAR is actively seeking alumni volunteers who are willing to host a meal with students. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact Alumni Volunteer Coordinator Kim Easley at 313-577-5164 or

How much does it cost to host an event?
The cost of the meal is covered through the generosity of the alumni host or the Wayne State University Alumni Association (if hosted at Tierney Alumni House). OAR will work with alumni hosts to make all logistical arrangements for the event.