Since its opening in August and dedication in October, the new Brown Family Campus Center has become a bustling social hub for meetings, lunches, study breaks or just catching up over coffee.
“The café has made it much easier to get together with students for lunch or coffee, something that I very much enjoy and see as essential to our life as a community,” said Professor Thomas Morawetz. “The design and location make the café a destination point and an extremely pleasant place to spend time.”
The pleasing aesthetic of the light-filled space in the library foyer has contributed to a significant upturn in business at the cafe, according to Ethan Haggerty, retail operations manager for the Department of Dining Services. Between autumn 2016, when the cafe was operated out of the basement of Hosmer Hall, and autumn 2017, its first semester in the library, the number of customers served and the total amount of sales more than tripled, he said.
At the dedication ceremony, Dean Timothy Fisher likened the study of the law to a conversation, and said the campus center is the ideal place to nurture that conversation. He and university President Susan Herbst thanked Jay Brown, retired chief executive officer of MBIA Inc., and his family for generously funding the renovation and giving students a new gathering place.
Student Gideon Asemnor ‘18 said students no longer leave right after classes end. At the campus center, he said, “students from all walks of life, from different backgrounds, LLMs, JDs, you see them sitting together at the tables, having lunch and discussing tort issues or whatever cold call they got that day."
“I think students see it as a place to study or just hang out, a place where they are likely to run into friends and meet new people,” Morawetz said. “I hope--and think-- that the habits created in this way will lead more students to spend more time at the school in their second and third years.”
Plans are already in the making for continued growth and improvement.
Haggerty said potential next steps include a vending machine selling snacks after cafe hours, a Keurig machine, UConn Dairy Bar ice cream cups and an increase in kosher and halal options in addition to a continuously updated menu. Recent additions to the menu include chicken tenders and flatbread pizza.
The café is open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday.