By Jack, YU Cher Chan (Alumni Civility Hall)

It’s time to bring out your suits and ties and polish your leather shoes, to put on those high heels and squeeze into that gorgeous dinner dress, because that time of the year has come again. Yes, High Table Dinner season is right round the corner, so you’d better be prepared.

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High Table Dinners are formal dinners commonly found in the student residential halls of universities across Hong Kong. The dinners are modeled after the formal dinners usually seen in UK’s prestigious boarding schools and colleges. The term “High Table” refers to the raised table at the end of the dining hall that is used to seat the fellows and their guests, often seen in traditional academic institutions in UK. The best-known dining halls with a High Table in modern days are the one at Exeter College of Oxford University (the one with the famous rabbits on the stained glass window) and the Great Hall of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Albus Dumbledore used to deliver his speeches.

High Table Dinners are a long standing tradition that is still carried on in City University, Hong Kong University, Polytechnic University and other universities as well. Nowadays, High Table Dinners in our residence halls are organised by the Residents’ Associations (RAs) and hosted by the respective Residence Masters (RMs). They usually carry an academic theme. The programme for the night more often than not consists of a guest talk while the formal dinner is being served. On some occasions it is also a High Table Dinner cum inauguration ceremony for the RAs or prize presentation to the hall scholarship recipients. In the UK, the dining halls are used on a daily basis and students often put on academic gowns for special occasions. Here too, in our High Table Dinners, formal attire is required to add a sense of formality to the night.

High Table Dinners are meant to expose residents to social and Western dining etiquette while promoting student-faculty dialogue and interaction, as well as hoping that the guest talk will give them more insights on certain topics. Yet it is sometimes hard for the organisers to achieve all these goals, to keep the atmosphere academic and formal while simultaneously making the dinner desirable to the residents. That’s why this year SRO and the RMs, acting on the accumulated knowledge of other universities, offered a training session on 14 January 2011 for the student organisers about how to organise a High Table Dinner professionally. .

With High Table Dinners looking more promising than ever, residents should seize the opportunity and not miss out on this beneficial event.


ResLink Issue No.32
Feb 2011