Mathematics chair lends a hand to lost students in MAK
Dr. Ed Aboufadel
The first day back to classes for a new semester can seem overwhelming and stressful for many students at Grand Valley State University. One man — professor Edward Aboufadel — seeks to alleviate their worries by providing directions to classes and addressing other related questions and concerns.
Aboufadel, chair of the math department, will be standing in front of the Math Center in Mackinac Hall on Jan. 7 from 8:45 a.m. to noon to assist students by holding a sign that reads “ASK ME I KNOW!”
Aboufadel started holding this sign in the fall of 2008 when GVSU expanded Mackinac Hall with additional wings and changed all its room numbers.
“The idea of the ‘ask me I know’ sign comes from a time that I was in Cancun, Mexico, and I saw a guy in a Cancun tourism information booth called ‘ask me I know,’” Aboufadel said. “I was very amused that the specific words were in English.”
Aboufadel said he stands in front of the Math Center because there are several different directions of wings in that area.
“When you stand in front of the Math Center, the B wing is in one direction, the C wing in another direction, and the D wing is in another direction,” he said. “It’s like the three-wing Grand Central Station of Mackinac.”
Aboufadel said mostly lower classmen ask for directions on the first day, whereas upper class math majors will ask some sort of math question for a little chuckle.
“Coming across lost and anxious students the first day of class can make them (students) feel better and to relax a little,” Aboufadel said.
He added that a lot of freshmen and sophomores have trouble reading their schedule and are unsure about what room they are looking for.
“Occasionally students are looking for the statistics department downstairs and are confused by the LL (lower level) classes, and I can direct them down the stairs or to the elevator,” Aboufadel said.
Aboufadel also interacts with new faculty on the first day of class.
“What happens is a few new faculty on the first day of class will see me and break out in a big smile,” Aboufadel said. “People appreciate the guidance.”