Proposal for the “Crowe Commons Café”/ “Café 14”

Overview:

Café 14 will be located in “Crowe Commons”, the three-story common room between Johnson Dormitory and Doubleday Dormitory. The café will include quiet workspaces, places for conversation, and spaces for co-ed “hang out”. Because the layout of Crow Commons cannot be changed within the 2013/14 school year, Café 14 will initially not include a grill. Instead, it will feature an array of vending machines, supplying different types of food ranging from healthy snacks to hot meals and various beverages. Café 14 will be overseen by both students and faculty. If the project proves to be successful, the space will be renovated to include a grill and food preparation areas.  In addition to the renovations, a staff will be hired, such that Café will in some ways resemble the Greer and Café Louis in the Koch. The Café will be open from 7am-9:45pm from Sunday-Thursday, 7am-11pm on Friday, and 7am-11:30pm on Saturday.

 

Goal:

The aim of Café 14 is to alleviate the prevalent gender divide at Deerfield by taking an extremely underused common space (Crowe Commons) and turning it into an alternative and hopefully more welcoming space for both genders to share. Currently, the spaces for both genders to spend time are the Greer and parietals, both of which have uncomfortable stigmas. Café 14 will be divided equally between a study and social space. The idea is that the space will be used for co-ed group projects or individual studying during the week (allowing  the opportunity to grab a mid-study snack) and for co-ed socializing during the weekends. This space will be comfortable for both genders to enjoy together and will provide an open, stigma-free common space that the Student Council predicts will be widely used. Additionally, Café 14 provides a co-ed common space on the East side of campus, where over half of the student body resides.

 

  • Café 14 addresses a main issue presented in last year’s re-accreditation report — the increasingly prevalent gender divide on the DA campus. A common theme reported by new students, especially new juniors and new seniors, is that boys and girls rarely spend time together at DA. If they are spending time together, it is in the socially formulated Greer (which includes strange, uncomfortable social dynamics, and traditions like “clapping out”) or in parietals, which even though they shouldn’t, always have “hooking-up” stigmas. It seems like the DA campus doesn’t have a space where boys and girls can comfortably be together without being confined by social pressure and anxiety. By creating a comfortable, more socially acceptable, co-ed space, Café 14 will give boys and girls one more option of a space to study and hang out. This will help alleviate social stress and will provide support for the goals that were formed as a result of DA’s re-accreditation reports.

  • Café 14 will provide students an open, co-ed, common area and a food/beverage resource on the East side of campus. With the loss of the Memorial Lobby, a widely used common space, our campus is down one common space. Café 14 will fill in that missing gap, but with additional food/beverage, entertainment, and study amenities. With the Greer and Café Louis located on the West side of campus, it is important that the East side contains a friendly common space as well, considering over half of the student body lives in dorms on the East side of campus.

  • Café 14 will be an inclusive space, not only for both genders, but also for all grade levels. In order to preserve the inclusiveness of the space, the Student Council in conjunction with the Student Programmings Committee will plan events in Café 14 including coffee houses, student performances, and dances. Students will also be encouraged to use the space to present personal work. With technological appliances in the Café, students can present research projects, musical work, or even practice an upcoming presentation and invite faculty and peers to watch and listen. Additionally, the Student Council plans to hold a grand opening of Café 14 that will encourage the entire student body to be a part of the space and to use it in the future.

Setup:

Café 14 will be split into three sections, which are the DMC, the main common room area, and the loft. Each section will provide its own study/hangout “flavor”.

  1. DMC = Currently, the DMC is very underused, with the exception of being utilized for occasional club meetings. This basement area will still be open to all clubs as a meeting space, but it will also be completely transformed. The DMC will be used as a casual, comfortable, “hang out” space. A projector with DVD, Cable TV, and computer connection capabilities will be used for sharing and practicing group powerpoints, presenting exciting work to peers and faculty, watching movies with a group of friends on a Saturday night, and much more. This will most likely be run on a sign-out basis. Additionally, couches, bean bag chairs, and a pool and/or ping pong table will be included in the space for comfort and entertainment.

  2. Main Floor = The main floor of Crowe Commons will be turned into a quiet study and social space (study mainly during study hours and afternoons, social mainly on weekend nights). Scattered tables and couches will make for a comfortable yet studious vibe, and cable televisions mounted on the walls will allow students to catch up on nightly news, root for their favorite teams, or watch a movie on the weekend. The main floor will be the site of the vending machines, which are a temporary source for food and beverage supply in Café 14. The Main Floor will be a great area for conversational group work but also for catching up with peers and faculty.

  3. Loft = The Crowe Commons loft is an empty, completely unused space. This will be transformed into a great study and work space. Four large white boards will be mounted on the walls and the space will include scattered tables and chairs for group and individual work. The Loft will be a comfortable group work or individual work area, and is a great alternative study space for students that seek to study in a comfortable, co-ed environment on the East side of campus that includes food and beverage amenities.

Food/Beverage:

The food in Café 14 will offer a wide variety of healthy food options (and some not as healthy) served by vending machines. The Student Council and Mr. McCarthy have heavily researched vending machine options, and found many cost efficient options, some of which would allow students to use their Greer cards for payment. One vending machine company that we are going to use is Sprout Vending, which offers juice and fruit smoothies, granola and energy bars, crackers and chips, and dried fruit.  Others include Moobella Ice Cream, Let’s Pizza, Fresh Healthy Vending for Coffee, and Eat Wave for hot and cold food.

Maintenance:

There will be no maintenance staff at the temporary Café 14, so student users will maintain a healthy environment and clean up after themselves. We may ask that a member of the custodial staff vacuum the Café floor once a week.

Expectations/Rules:

Six faculty families, many of which have young children, surround the common room, so student users would have to control the noise at a reasonable level at Café 14.

The student council may install a “noise alarm” that sends a signal to the student users when the noise reaches a certain level.

  1. TVs will be turned off during and after study hours (7:45-9:45pm Sunday-Thursday, except the basement projector, which must be kept at a reasonable volume at all times). TVs must be kept at a reasonable volume level at all other times.

  2. Students will follow the Respect Policy and clean up after themselves as they would in the Greer and Café Louis.

  3. Students must respect the Study Hour guidelines Sunday – Friday. All underclassmen are expected to be in their rooms during study hall unless given special permission from an on-duty faculty resident, and all upperclassmen must be in a place of study during study hall. Café 14 will be a designated place of study; therefore, all students must be working in the café during study hours using reasonable noise levels.

 

Supervision:

  1. Sunday-Thursday: A student council representative will be present in the Café from 7:45pm to 9:45pm from Sunday to Thursday. This will run on a rotation basis. The said student council member will be responsible for reminding students to maintain reasonable noise levels and to clean up after themselves.

  2. Friday-Saturday: (8:30pm-11pm on Friday nights and 8:30pm-11:30pm on Saturday nights). Either:

    1. Faculty rotation to monitor the Café, similar to the Greer duty rotation, or

    2. The on duty faculty members in Johnson and Doubleday check on the Café directly before duty and directly after curfew. They may wish to check during their duty as well.

 

2013/2014 School Year Timeline:

The Student Council hopes that Café 14 can open during the 2014 winter term. The Student Council aims to complete the temporary project as soon as possible. The ordering and installation of the TVs, tables, vending machines, couches, pool/ping pong table, bean bag chairs, whiteboards, and projector will take a few weeks, and it is our hope to get these installed as soon as possible.

Long- Term Timeline:

If Café 14 is a success and is used well by the student body, the Student Council hopes to include a renovation of Café 14 in the Campus Master Plan. The space will need to go under renovation to create a completely adequate space for studying and socializing. This renovation would include a remodeling of the space, as it needs to be severely altered if Café 14 were to become a lasting, usable space. Amenities such as a full grill (including all of the venting necessary for this), coffee machines, refrigerators, etc. will be installed. The Student Council hopes that the future Café 14 will either be run by dining hall staff or students. Café 14 could potentially be a great place for students to do paid work or volunteer work.

2013-2014 Student Council

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