Dear Future Professor Me,
You remember pizza.. pizza is AWESOME! It's gooey and delicious, customizable and often delivered right to the door. Seriously, look at that.. how do you not drool!
You know what is even more amazing to students? Free pizza! Something to keep in mind for building camaraderie in the lab.
At my current stage of humble first year PhD student, I'd like to propose you bring back the end of semester pizza party tradition for the lab in your future digs. This must be done at lunch time on campus, with warning. This will ensure everyone is around. While parties at your place are great too, once we escape from campus there is no guarantee we will get the gumption up to go anywhere else. Flopping down on the sofa and turning on the latest and greatest thing saved on our DVR is hard to break way from. Send out an email, leave little pizza shaped invitations at everyone's work bench, whatever you need, so that everyone knows not to bring a lunch that day.
The laid back conversation that takes place around a warm pizza is a welcomed change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the lab routines. This provides some relationship building outside the usual, hey can you pass the acetone, thanks.
And honestly, it doesn't have to be pizza, you may find your group likes healthier options. It's not about the food as much as the get everyone together for an "off-duty" event. Trust me, it is great.
Lowly Grad Student Me