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University Cafe coming to Student Union
AAUP donation will pay for furnishings

Need a nice place on campus to take a visiting speaker to lunch? Or could you use a quiet, charming space to hold a faculty dinner?

In direct response to the need for such a dining room to bring the University community together, UConn is creating a University cafe. The facility's development is an integral part of the strategic plan and the campus master plan, and responds to calls from faculty and staff for more places where they, students, visitors, and other guests can come together.

The cafe will offer lunch weekdays and will be available at other times to cater events.

"The University cafe is critical to our development as an academic community. It is essential that we have a variety of places where we can go and enjoy each other's company and where we can take guests, particularly academic visitors," says Mark Emmert, chancellor. "The University cafe is intended to be that kind of place and provide an environment that's conducive to conversation and community building. Now, whenever you want to go and have lunch, dinner or socialize, you really have to leave campus. That adds to traffic and parking problems. The University cafe will increase our ability to build a sense of community here."

The AAUP, UConn chapter, is donating $100,000 toward the cost of furnishings.

"This is of direct importance to faculty members so they can do their jobs effectively," says Robinson Grover, an associate professor of philosophy and president of AAUP. "It's very important to have a place where we can go to meet informally, but seriously. Both faculty and administration need a pleasant place to bring prospective faculty members or employees as well as other important guests such as visiting speakers. Also, we need a quiet place to talk to students."

The 100-person capacity dining room will be located in the Student Union in the heart of campus. Extensive renovations are presently under way to Student Union rooms 278 and 282 and are expected to be completed early in the spring semester. The renovations will be funded by the University, while furnishings will be funded by the gift from AAUP.

"This much-needed gathering spot is truly the result of a University-wide collaboration to achieve an important goal," Emmert said. "It is an outstanding example of what can be done through the joint efforts of our most important publics: faculty, staff and students. I extend my congratulations and thanks to the members of the task force who have overseen this effort to date."

Further evidence of that collaboration is the contribution of marketing expertise by students and faculty of the School of Business Administration. Students in Susan Spiggle's consumer marketing course will be devoting their time and energy, through a class project designed to develop recommendations concerning naming and marketing the cafe. Those recommendations will be presented to the task force in early December.

Updates on the cafe's progress will appear in the Advance during the next few months.

Renu Sehgal-Aldrich