We have two simple rules: be respectful, and no clapping. No clapping? Ah, yes; my apologies: anything but clapping.
The raucous sound of banging on tables and stomping feet often fills the packed Scholars’ Den conference room at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. These sounds ring out the celebration of insightful comments, hilarious remarks, and other scholarly discussion.
Paul Lujan, ’16, summarizes his love for Mad Hatter’s with the simple phrase: “nuggets of knowledge and…cookies.”
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, founded by now-alumnus Arnaud Zimmern in 2010, is often described as the biggest nerd party on campus. Monthly, students from every corner of the SMU campus gather to discuss, debate, and enjoy cookies and tea.
“A girl mimicking a small flightless bird, stories of touching David Tennant’s face, and lessons on the ease of techno-terrorism: a standard Mad Hatter’s event,” states senior Kyle Swartz.
Each event features a brief student activity to begin the festivities. Past events have featured a student panel on study abroad opportunities, a debate on the merit of Tumblr outrage, a discussion of the scholastic value of Fifty Shades of Grey, and a brainstorming session on what to do with America’s aging population. These student events are witty and packed with humor but also reveal the many talents of our multi-faceted student body.
After the student activity, the festivities continue with a talk by a distinguished SMU professor on a subject of their choice. Topics of these discussions range across all fields of study. Previous events have featured talks including “How Our Personal History Affects Our View of History” by Dr. David Doyle, “A Medieval Halloween” by Dr. Stephanie Amsel, and “The Power of Science: Salvation or Damnation” by Dr. Pia Vogel.
The real beauty of Mad Hatter’s? The passion for knowledge that fills the room. It is continually inspiring to witness students come together on their own accord simply to learn. Some topics involve medieval art. Others involve complex computer science. But what bonds every person in the room is a passion for learning and a desire to know more about the world.
So no matter your major, political preference, religious beliefs, height, or favorite type of cookie, we hope you will come join us for good humor, good discussion, and best of all, delicious cookies.
Mad Hatter’s events will resume in the Spring semester.