Students reopen Mary Low Coffeehouse for a day
An old tradition on the Hill was revived last Wednesday when two students reopened the Mary Low Coffeehouse as a casual café. Tamer Hassan ’11 and Carla Aronsohn ’13 created the event as a way to establish a student-run space on campus, encouraging students to spend time with friends, to meet new people and to make the College’s campus their own.
Advertising for the event “involved a Facebook group and a poster and a lot of word of mouth,” Hassan said. “I told my roommates who told their friends…word of mouth, really, is how it spread.”
The Facebook group for the reopening listed over 200 attendees, a number that Hassan said was a fair estimate. Students used the space to socialize with friends, to study, to grab a quick cup of coffee and to the live music. Others stopped by to check out the setup. The Coffeehouse became a classic college scene with friends lounging on couches, sitting in circles on the floor and chatting at the counter.
Students volunteered to bring a number of different items to the Coffeehouse. Aside from coffee, at different times there were teas, various flavors of gelato, breads and other baked goods. Keeping with the approach to green living on the Hill, some students brought their own mug while others could borrow one of the assorted mugs that were being used, washed and reused throughout the day.
Two student bands added live music to the event and even prompted some of the attendees to dance. The Joint Chiefs, a group that usually practices in the coffeehouse in the afternoon, originally hesitated to intrude on the atmosphere of the event. However, Hassan encouraged them that their performance would add to the event and make the coffeehouse even more like a regular café. The Roving Grovers also played throughout the evening.
When Hassan approached the Office of Campus Life, he learned that the Coffeehouse could not become a regular business because it would violate the College’s current contract for dining services through Sodexo. However, the Coffeehouse may still operate on a donation basis. While students do not have to pay for any of the offerings, donations can help defray the costs of the volunteers.
The Coffeehouse once operated through the College on a regular schedule with a paid student as a barista. As a result of lack of interest and logistical issues, this practice was phased out. However, given the amount of participation at this recent event, Hassan said it is likely that the coffeehouse will once again become a regular occurrence on the Hill. “We put in so little effort and so many people came,” Hassan said. “It says a lot about the space.”