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Students respond to potential Waddick’s renovation

| Friday, March 2, 2018

In the past couple weeks, students have shown concern over the future of Waddick’s, the campus cafe inside O’Shaughnessy Hall. Rumors about possible renovations to the popular dining and coffee spot sparked major backlash among its frequenters.

One such student, senior Susan Lefelhocz, began a petition “to keep the unique and beloved coffee shop Waddick’s unchanged.”

“I posted a Facebook status update about them thinking about changing Waddick’s and I got, like, 60 responses of people saying, ‘I love this coffee shop,’ and even alumni saying, ‘I graduated but this used to be my favorite place,’” she said. “I was like, OK, maybe I can make this into a petition.”

Abigail Piper | The Observer
Students frequent Waddick’s, a popular cafe in O’Shaughnessy Hall. In response to rumors of potential renovations to the facilities, senior Susan Lefelhocz started a petition to oppose changes.

Lefelhocz said she did not anticipate the petition would be very successful, but it soon went viral among students and Notre Dame groups on Facebook, receiving nearly 500 signatures.

Junior Lydia Costello shared the link on Facebook, saying, “Some issues are nonpartisan. Saving Waddick’s, the ultimate Arts & Letters retreat, is one of them.”

Junior Frank Hagan, a self-dubbed “Waddick’s aficionado,” made a plea in the Class of 2019 Facebook group that garnered plenty of attention.

“The administration wants to deface [Waddick’s] pristine beauty and replace it with just another cog in the oppressive corporate machine,” Hagan said in the post.

He then appealed to the common values of Notre Dame students, urging, “if you care about liberty and individuality, about small business and croissants, join the fight.”

Like many students, Hagan said Waddick’s is a part of his weekly routine.

“Waddick’s is a little community, you know, there’s a family spirit here,” he said. “Every Tuesday and Thursday I get an iced coffee and a croissant. The coffee here’s cheaper and the coffee here’s better.”

Campus Dining said Waddick’s would not be removed, but did not disclose an exact plan for the coffee shop.

“The one thing I can share is that there are no plans to permanently close Waddick’s and it is being considered for renovation,” Luis Alberganti, director of retail dining, said in an email. “There will be an announcement about this coming soon, it is a project that we are very excited about. Some of the details are still being worked out, stay tuned for more information.”

Lefelhocz said modifying Waddick’s would be one of many changes, such as the six-semester housing mandate, that represent a bigger trend on campus.

“There’s all these changes happening that the school says we wanted, but students didn’t ask for, and now one of them is Waddick’s,” she said.

Lefelhocz and Hagan said they both heard from non-student sources that Waddick’s was going to be remodeled.

“I was talking about it with a friend in Waddick’s and someone said ‘I see you in here a lot. This change really is happening,’” Lefelhocz said.

Both Hagan and Lefelhocz also said they heard food services would be scaled down and it might expand into the art gallery across the hall.

“I come here for the food and iced coffee, and both of those things are apparently on the axe,” Hagan said. “I think you could just get more seating but also keep all the food and coffee and stuff.”

“I heard it would just be a coffee machine,” Lefelhocz said.

Lefelhocz said she was asked to close the petition, which had gained 476 signatures, until she had a discussion with a dean about renovations.

“I was told that if we don’t accept the renovations, we can reopen the petition,” Lefehlocz said. “If they need to expand it, then I understand that, but to completely remodel it and do away with the things that people love, I’m not on board with that.”

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About Abigail Piper

Abby is a senior majoring in English and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She also speaks French, as long as you don't ask her something that requires the subjunctive. Primarily running on coffee, she enjoys St. Louis sports, water-skiing, running and watching/listening to/reading true crime.

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