BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Tailgating and education are two words we don't usually find in the same sentence, but one Bowling Green State University professor is blending the two as a way to keep this unusual school year engaging.
"Edu-gating" is a twist to Dr. Angela Falter Thomas's office hours during the coronavirus pandemic.
"My husband coined the term 'edu-gating' as a spin-off on tailgating, thinking this would be a nice way to have academic discourse with the students," Thomas said.
On Friday morning, she and her husband Shayne travel from their home in Tiffin to set up their recently purchased RV on BGSU's campus.
In the middle of a campus parking lot, the professor holds her office hours.
"While technology is fantastic and I've been able to do some very interesting things through remote teaching with the students online, some of my students just need that face-to-face personal touch," she said.
There are no alcoholic drinks or loud music during this time, just laughs and conversations about this school year.
It's something her students really seem to appreciate.
"I'm an in-person learner. I love the hands-on (approach) and we can't get that right now due to the pandemic. Coming here and speaking with her and expressing our concerns, she's more than welcome to explain things to you," BGSU Senior, Robbie Steffen said.
Not only are the office hours to help with academic studies, but it's also a way for the professor to check on her students' mental health. She said that seeing her students in person helps bring some normalcy back into their lives.
Thomas said she plans to hold her office hours every Friday, as long as weather permits or until her students get bored.