Friday, November 21, 2014

[217] MTSU serves with style at etiquette seminar, four-course meal Nov. 20

MURFREESBORO — Learning the social graces at the dinner table can be fun as well as enlightening.

MTSU’s student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) will prove that to be true at an etiquette seminar and four-course meal from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Hazlewood Dining Room of the James Union Building.

“We want to help our students here at MTSU with having that etiquette background, that civility, that business etiquette,” said Deborah Belcher, who chairs the Department of Human Sciences. “And, since this was all borne from home economics, I think we need to continue that tradition.”

Belcher, who has taught etiquette for years, recently completed training at the Burlington, Vermont-based Emily Post Institute.

Post, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose 1922 book “Etiquette: In Society, in Business, in Politics and At Home” was a bestseller, became the gold standard in her time for expertise on the proper ways to behave in all kinds of situations. Her descendants continue her work today at

For example, as Belcher said, “Can you eat asparagus with your fingers? Yes, if it does not have a sauce on it. When it has a sauce, then you must cut it.”

Prior to the dinner, teams of students will attempt to set the tables appropriately. The teams who perform best in the shortest amount of time will win prizes.

“The table setting itself tells you the connection with the menu and what you’re going to have for dinner,” Belcher said.

Belcher said the meal usually consists of soup, salad, sorbet to cleanse the palate, an entrée and vegetables, bread, dessert and a choice of coffee, tea or water.

The price of the dinner is $25, which covers the meal and facilities charges. For more information, call 904-230-6490.

In prior years, the seminar has tackled such subjects as how to eat with chopsticks and the proper ways of toasting. This year’s seminar has a masquerade theme and will include some after-dinner dance instruction.

Belcher said the key to understanding proper etiquette is to treat others as one would wish to be treated.

“If we know these rules and we practice the rules, when we go out for a job interview, or we’re in a social situation, then we know we can fall back on these rules, and that creates a level of comfortability,” she said.

To learn more about ASID or the Department of Human Sciences, contact Belcher at 615-898-2302 or

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