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UA Hears Student Input For Coffeehouse Space

Students Suggest Renovations, Specialty Foods

By Jia Xing

The Undergraduate Association compiled a list of possibilities regarding the vacant space in the Coffeehouse last night, but came to no final conclusion.

Proposals included establishing new food options or revamping the Coffeehouse’s business plan. Although no formal proposals have been made, several local businesses have taken interest in the open space, said Benjamin J. Zeskind ’03, speaker of the UA Council.

Thomas Cleary, former Coffeehouse financial manager, supports the idea of renovations for the Coffeehouse. He said that although there have been long-term losses, they were minor and may be fixed by changing the business plan and operation.

Other than a few modifications funded by class gifts and a minor renovation, the Coffeehouse had barely undergone change since opening, Clearly said.

He also said that shutting down the Coffeehouse would be a great loss for both students and workers. He remembered the Coffeehouse as “simply a fun place for students to work, hang out, and grab a midnight snack. I would be really disappointed to see it disappear to some outside business.”

Phillip J. Walsh, Campus Activities Complex director, asked students for their suggestions. The administration will “do whatever the students want to fill the space, as long as there is no cost to MIT,” he said.

UA seeks input on possibilities

In addition to new offerings and and an updated business plan, proposals included more vending machines or added study space.

Suggestions for new foods and drinks included specialty teas, submarine sandwiches, and food from local restaurants. Students at the meeting responded favorably to a suggestion of pearl milk tea, a popular Chinatown beverage.

Details on both revamping the Coffeehouse or new dining options are yet to be considered, and the UA and CAC are seeking student proposals, which Zeskind said could be submitted to .

The Student Center Committee founded the Coffeehouse in 1987. Completely student-operated, it was a 24-hour study lounge offering students late night snacks and coffee.

The Coffeehouse was known for its convenient location, low prices, the fact that it accepted the MIT Card for payment, and most importantly for being open twenty-four hours a day.

However, because of poor financial performance, the Coffeehouse reduced its hours of operation at the beginning of the academic year in an effort to save what was often considered an institution.

Problems continued, however, and the Coffeehouse was forced to shut down last December because of its losses.