Language lab coffee bar enhances study space

by Jill Miller
Staff Writer

Professors of applied linguistics, Spanish, French and teaching English as a second language in the Languages Department have taken inspiration from students and have created a coffee station in the back of the language lab.

The lab is in room H-40 in the Penick Academic Complex. The department would use items faculty or students already have on hand to create the space.

“The idea is not necessarily to create a coffee bar atmosphere as much as make the language lab more welcoming and provide a space conducive to study, collaborative work and connections, both during the classes held there and after class hours,” Dr. Kristie Niemeier, assistant professor of language, said.

It’s an informal space, said Dr. Julie Glosson, professor of language, adding that the idea came about because students meet there to study and socialize.

Faculty members wanted to foster this desire to do so and began creating the station earlier in the semester.

“We thought, ‘If students [are] already congregating in there some, why not set up a little place where they can contribute to the [department] fund and be a little more comfortable?’” Glosson said.

Coffee is purchased by members of the department. In exchange for the drinks, students can donate to the department to keep the station stocked with coffee and creamers.

The department has no funding to contribute to the project, however, so to create the new space, professors restructured the lab’s space, Glosson said.

“We hope to put a little bucket or something a little bit more formal [for the money], but we haven’t really gotten around to that yet,” Glosson said. “We just started the idea.”

Glosson said those who run the coffee station would be Servant Leadership Award workers and paid student workers in the languages department. They would be trained to work the station and would keep things in order and ensure the coffeepot and accessories stay in the lab.

The department anticipates no competition with Barefoots Joe.

Glosson said that some students even bring their coffee from Barefoots into the lab. The purpose of the coffee “lounge,” she said, is to enhance a sense of community among language students.

“It just tends to promote camaraderie and warmth,” Glosson said.
Language students helped to design the lounge with suggestions about aspects such as new arrangements of furniture, Niemeier said.

Because it is a “home base” for the department, Glosson said, departmental gatherings are held there during cool month, and events such as Capstone presentations take place there, too.

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