If you know the Campuswide Honors Collegium, then we bet dollars to donuts you’ve heard of Coffee Hour – one of our oldest traditions! A peek in our historical photo albums reveals students chatting and enjoying coffee and bagels in the Howard Babb room of Murray Krieger Hall. Scrawled atop the photos from the 1992 album are the words, “Coffee Hours – our weekly retreat.” While every generation of students has its own characteristics, one thing that remains constant is their love of Coffee Hour, which remains a welcoming haven on campus providing Honors students with comradery, good food, and fun.
Every week we order dozens of bagels and donuts, a basket of fruit, and jugs of juice to set out in our multipurpose room, the Locus. This is funded by donations from alumni, parents, and friends of Campuswide Honors. In the lobby of Student Services II students can help themselves to hot drinks, including some steaming hot coffee from our noisy percolator, nicknamed Moaning Myrtle. Some students enjoy puzzles (many of them “vintage” ones from the early years of the program), board games, and crosswords while others study intently on their laptops, with a donut close at hand.
Each week Coffee Hour has an academic theme chosen by the Campuswide Honors Student Council social chairs. One of the most popular themes is Faculty Coffee Hour, when students invite their favorite faculty members to attend. Students have the opportunity to network with faculty, and some have even found a position in a lab or a research advisor as the result of these conversations. Other popular themes include coffee hour with the chancellor/provost, study abroad, career resources, drop-in advising, getting started with research, de-stressing with therapy dogs and more!
There is something about the casual nature of this event that makes it so important to students. Students can pop in to grab a snack on the way to class, or can stay the whole time. At the start of fall quarter, returning students catch up with old friends, while new freshmen and transfer students branch out into the honors community for the first time. It is a testament to the vision of our founding faculty, staff, and students that traditional events like Coffee Hour persist today and remain relevant to an ever-changing student body. Students are pulled in more and more directions as time goes on, but Coffee Hour remains a weekly retreat for honors students and a cornerstone of the Campuswide Honors community experience.