The University Café will soon trade in its secluded location at the side of the Student Union for a more visible spot on campus, the Student Activities Center.
The hipster haven has provided both undergraduate and graduate students with weekly social events in its original location for years, including nights centered around lip sync competitions, jazz music and karaoke. The café had to find a new home because of the impending renovation of the Union.
The move to the SAC could be as soon as October, according to the Graduate Student Organization.
“We had a lot of options for where to move the café, so we ruled different locations out,” Joe Verardo, treasurer of GSO, said. “Wang Center wasn’t central, so it would’ve been hard to promote. We didn’t want to disrupt any of the dorms within the residence halls, so that was out. Overall, the SAC seemed like the most central place on campus.”
The structure and setup of the new café will be quite different. The ceilings are too low for a normal stage, so a platform a couple of inches off the ground is their only option. A permanent bar is not being built, so a portable bar will have to be rolled in for events. The pool table will remain at the SAC location. Regardless of the changes, faculty members are in the midst of deciding on colors, decorations and lighting to create the same Brooklyn-esque ambience it had before.
Because the over 100-person venue will be located on the second floor dining area of the SAC, it will be easily accessible for students throughout the day. It will also be easier to promote through fliers and social media, according to Verardo.
“None of this would have been possible without Dean Ecklund,” Vahideh Rasekhi, president of GSO, said of the dean of students. “We have been fully involved in the process and he has been a big advocate and has catered to our needs.”
Students can look forward to more of the same events: social programs with international cuisines, competitions and karaoke. The jazz nights, originally held weekly, will most likely be once or twice a month. However, the café is open to increasing their frequency if they are popular. Student pianists and other musicians will continue to share their talents with other students.
“It builds a sense of community within the university and it’s a great opportunity to get showcased,” Oscar Icochea, the administrative coordinator of GSO, said.
The free events are usually only open to students 21 or older, due to the presence of alcohol. Students attending the events will be able to purchase Budweiser, Heineken, Merlot, Chardonnay and Corona, among other beer and wine options. Liquor will not be available as Sodexo, the school’s campus dining vendor, does not have a full liquor license.
The permanence of the location is undetermined at this point.
“It’s really a learning process for everyone involved,” Icochea said. “We are excited to see how it works out.”