Veterans at Booth Enjoy the Tradition of “Dining Out”

For veterans at Chicago Booth, one event stands out among the myriad cocktail hours, dinners, and Liquidity Preference Functions (LPFs) that comprise the MBA social experience. That hallmark event is, of course, Dining Out.

Those unfamiliar with military traditions might find the event’s title a bit strange, perhaps literal even, but Dining Outs (and their equally creatively-named cousins, Dining Ins) both feature strongly in military culture. Dining Ins traditionally consist only of military service members. They often occur just before or after combat deployments and entail a degree of silliness to counter the seriousness of our daily jobs. Dining Out differs in that significant others are invited to join, and the silliness is somewhat toned-down.

For most of the veterans at Booth, Dining Out is a piece of the familiar in what can be a new and strange place. Most of us could not have distinguished a credit from a debit before Booth, and would have assumed that an “efficient market” meant less than five minutes in line at the store. While we are all hopefully past that point now, it is still great to dust off the old traditions and have a time of fellowship and fun.

One piece of silliness essential to any Dining Out event is the grog.

Grog typically consists of a fruit punch base accompanied by particular adult beverages and a few “surprise” items. The various spirits represent the unique traditions of each branch of the armed services—a stiff whiskey for the Army, rum for the Navy, a crisp (but not too crisp) Chablis for the Air Force, and anything liquid and fermented for the Marine Corps.

What separates grog from any normal college dorm-room attempt at cocktail mixing (aside from its large quantity) is the addition of certain delicacies. Again, each of these resonate with the branches of military—perhaps a delectable pair of boot socks from the Army, a pint of seawater from the Navy, a pair of Ray Bans from the Air Force, and a brand new box of crayons from the Marines. The resultant concoction is as delicious as it is healthy.

Consumption of grog, while certainly its own reward, is also bestowed upon those dinner guests who have distinguished themselves in some way. Mildly embellished tales of misdeeds are submitted for the judgment of the President of the Mess and the crowd in general. Rebuttals are made, grog is consumed, and shenanigans generally ensue.

While all this may sound a bit curious, Booth has long been a great place to be a veteran. From the generous Yellow Ribbon scholarships to the funds set aside by Marine Corps veteran and Booth graduate Mr. Eric Gleacher (of Gleacher Center fame), the school is very much in our corner.

We try to give back where we can as well. Booth veterans lead the way in veteran outreach and support efforts across UChicago, and can also be found co-chairing many of the student groups here at Booth. We’re your classmates, project partners, and crop circle wingmen and women. Each of us is grateful to call Booth home, and we hope you will consider joining us next year at our Dining Out event as a guest. Come thirsty, and bring your boot socks.

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