By Sarah Kelly, Café Manager
In the CIIS Café we strive to operate a sustainable business and educate people about our efforts. As the manager of the Café, it became clear that community building is an integral part of sustainability. The Café is a natural gathering place in the school, as it is one of the center hubs of the Institute where many students, faculty, and staff gather informally.
This semester we focused our efforts (beyond providing lattes and bagels) on building community in the Café. Some of our projects include creating a community journal, providing a board with a question of the week, hosting a social hour, and showcasing student art. All of these efforts highlight the impressive creative vein that runs through the Institute, and the contributions are truly inspiring.
The community journal and question board are filled with art, philosophy, social justice, and comedy, to name a few of the varied topics. In these small impromptu texts, we witness how varied and overlapping the programs are here. They also provide fun alternatives to waiting line, as we often get busy in between classes.
Our new social hour compliments the monthly Expression Sessions beautifully. Expression Sessions is a student, faculty, and staff open mic night held once a month. Now, every other Friday, Student Alliance hosts a social hour in the Café. This new gathering (reviving an older tradition of social hours) provides a space for everyone to gather informally, and get to know staff and students in different parts of the Institute.
Visually, the most exciting change has been the introduction of student art. We just hung up our first exhibit last week, and the Café came alive. The artist, Molly Johnstone, is exhibiting her photographs in a multi-dimensioned fashion, bringing depth and expanse to the space. Her exhibit, Slow Fade, documents the beauty in urban decay.
All of these projects contribute to the greater whole of the Institute and provide new routes for people to meet, connect, and create together.