The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student brings strangers together with secretive steak dinner

Remy Oktay ’24 organized the dinner as a final assignment for his class. (Photo courtesy of Remy Oktay ’24)

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have an intimate dinner with a group of strangers? 

Last Tuesday, four students found themselves at an all-expenses paid dinner at Three OAK Steakhouse. None of them knew what to expect when they arrived; they each had been invited by an unnamed host through the anonymous social media app Yik Yak.

“Free dinner at Oak Steakhouse – 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 2nd – social experiment dinner with strangers – hosted by Lafayette Art Dept. – if interested DM for details,” the message, posted on Yik Yak several days before the event, read.

Kaitlin Ahern ’23, Taylen Mongiovi ’25, Lily Gaskill ’26 and Kathryn Duane ’26, the four brave respondents chosen to attend the dinner, didn’t learn who was running it – or why – until they arrived at Three OAK several days later.

There, the host was revealed to be Remy Oktay ’24, who had organized the event for his Art and Environment class where his final assignment was “to create a conversation.” To finance the unique social event, Oktay used his Creative and Performing Arts Scholar funding, which provides him with funds to create art on campus.

“I think I’m someone who’s very comfortable just meeting new people and introducing myself. So, this was … more about affecting the culture and positively impacting the culture and creating space for people to connect with others in a world where it feels like … we’re becoming more and more isolated,” Oktay said.

For the students who attended the dinner, as soon as they arrived, their apprehension towards the meal with strangers quickly dissolved. According to Gaskill, she was pleasantly surprised by the company she found at the dinner.

“I was like, ‘It could be some complete weirdos or some creepy old man from Easton,’” Gaskill said. “It ended up not being sketchy at all.”

For Oktay, a goal for the dinner was to destigmatize sparking conversation with strangers and to encourage interaction with the people around us. 

“We had a great conversation and talked about all sorts of different things about our lives, about our time at Lafayette and what the future of this project might look like,” Oktay said.

“The more people I meet, the more I recognize,” Oktay continued. “There are so many unique stories that people have and that just makes life exciting to think about.”

The dinner turned out to be a success among the students, who formed new connections with people they would not have expected. Students such as Gaskill think these relationships will help them in the future.

“I feel like I’ll be able to talk to all of the people that I went to dinner with just in the future, ask them questions about something that they might be planning or doing or just if I’m confused about something like class-wise because I got some good class recommendations,” Gaskill said. “And it proved to myself that I could go to a dinner with a bunch of random people that I never met before.”

Oktay hopes to continue this event in the future and allow more students to access it.

“I’m hoping that as people learn about this, it’ll become a little bit more institutionalized in the positive sense that there is trust and backing and legitimacy so that people are more comfortable,” Oktay said.

Gaskill feels that other students could benefit from attending a dinner like this one. 

“I feel like it was cool [because] it was a true formal environment compared to just in the dining hall … Don’t be scared. It’s gonna be awkward at first, but just chat, you know, say something,” Gaskill said. “Everyone has something in common. You’ll find it, it just takes a little bit of time.”

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About the Contributors
Elisabeth Seidel, Design Director/Assistant Business Manager
Kristen Vincent, Assistant Culture Editor

Kristen Vincent ‘26 is an English Major and a Government and Law Minor. Aside from writing and editing for the newspaper, she is an EXCEL scholar, Writing Associate, LEO, and Secretary of the English Club. When she is not critiquing the latest biopic about a musician with a legendary past, she can be found working on her latest screenplay or rustling through the bargain bin at your local record store. Oh, and she’s something of a magician, inventor and chocolate maker too…

Natalia Ferruggia, Assistant Culture Editor
Natalia Ferruggia '26 (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Culture Editor for The Lafayette. In addition to being the newsroom’s resident North Jersey stereotype, she is a captain of the Speech and Debate Team, a Writing Associate, AOL Tour Guide and Office Worker and Communications Officer for English Club. She loves to talk excessively about romance novels and Cary Grant movies, and has passionate opinions about what constitutes good pizza and why "Sex and the City" is the greatest show to ever grace television.  If anyone feels the desire to hold a socratic seminar about nineteenth century gothic literature or 1940s neo-noir drama films, please feel free to contact her via email at [email protected]

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