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Saint Mary’s SGA to serve free food in Dalloway’s Coffeehouse following ND v. BC football game

| Friday, November 15, 2019

Clarissa Dalloway’s will open its doors once again, Saturday, Nov. 23, to provide students with free food and hot beverages following the Notre Dame vs. Boston College football game. Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) announced this event in a Nov. 6 email and Google form polling students on what kind of food and drinks they would prefer. This feedback would “help SGA renew an old tradition on campus by bring back life to Dalloway’s Clubhouse,” the email said.

The upcoming post-game event is part of a much larger effort by SGA to revitalize Dalloway’s and reestablish the coffeehouse as a student space, a project announced in September, senior Terra Nelson, president of SGA, said.

“I think it’ll be a great way to end the season and then also a tradition that we can carry on until the next football season,” Nelson said. “I think, right now we want to show the College that students will go to Dalloway’s if we have events there, if we keep it open. I think that’s been one of the arguments is ‘Will anybody made it over there?’ But I do think that people make it over there, especially if they’re coming back from the games.”

When SGA originally sent out a survey to gauge student interest in bringing Dalloway’s back to campus, they received a positive response from the student body, Nelson said.

“So I think that if this goes well and the attendance is there, it’s really something that we’re going to keep moving towards,” Nelson said. “I know that way back in the day, [Dalloway’s] was a place where students could go get a meal, do homework. It was just a student space, and I feel like that’s something that we’re lacking at the College. So we’d love to see that.”

Nelson said the future of Dalloway’s will be shaped by students’ attendance to this first event, as SGA and the Saint Mary’s administration will only move forward with re-opening plans if students express interest.

“I think right now, just showing that you can get students to come out, that the attendance will be great, that getting the catering there isn’t impossible, just seeing how it flows will help us know what we need to do for future events, and then hopefully, to just open the space completely,” she said. “So just seeing how this works will give us a good understanding of what we need to do for the rest of the time to come.”

Junior Giavanna Paradiso, Community Committee co-chair and SGA Food Committee chair said this event will contribute to the incremental process SGA plans on implementing in the coming months.

“This is step number one in the revival of Dalloway’s,” Paradiso said in an email. “This is a part of the larger effort to bring Dalloway’s back, as we have to prove students will utilize the building.”

If students seem invested, Paradiso said they can expect a schedule of “regular and predictable” events hosted at Dalloway’s.

“We are also hosting a holiday party on December 10th with traditions and food from Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah,” she said. “We are hoping to gradually increase events and usage more regularly for students in the spring and into next year.”

Ultimately, Paradiso said, Dalloway’s will become a “study space, concert space, space of expression, coffee house, cafe and hang out spot.”

SGA committees have been discussing the “third generation” Dalloway’s since tentatively announcing the re-installment project earlier this year. They decided that the best way to reintroduce the student body to the coffeehouse would be in the hours after a Notre Dame football game, when Saint Mary’s students make the walk from Notre Dame Stadium down the Avenue.

“The idea is that … Dalloway’s is right on the way back from the game, if you’re walking, which I would imagine most of our students are walking that way, and so it will be like a meal right then and there,” Nelson said. “I know the dining hall does have extended hours on game days, but it’s something else. And I think that it’s really great in terms of safety, like our students are walking on campus, they’re getting a warm meal and then also in terms of equity, we just know that all students have the opportunity to go out and enjoy the evening of the game because that can be challenging for some financially.”

Paradiso said events like these improve campus culture and promote student safety.

“Events like these are important to student life because they keep students safe and on-campus in an environment where they can express themselves and create community among fellow Belles,” Paradiso said in an email. “Events like this help to foster sisterhood and conversation. They are just a small part of the large effort to make Saint Mary’s a home for everyone.”

This event will not only bring students back into Dalloway’s, but also help establish this year’s core value at the College – community, Nelson said.

“We just think it’s a great way to strengthen our core value of community that we’ve said again and again, is just like what our platform is all about,” she said. “We really want to keep Dalloway’s a student space, and that’s been something that has been a constant conversation and our committees have worked really hard working towards this event. So we’re excited to do it.”

While this event will be catered, Nelson said the ultimate goal is to operate food services directly out of Dalloway’s own kitchen.

“I think the hope would be eventually to have some sort of cafe in Dalloway’s,” Nelson said. “That is like the goal is to really utilize that kitchen, utilize the space to its full capacity. But I think small steps and hopefully, by the end of the semester, next semester, we can see some of that come to life. It’s just been a space that has been closed for so long – really so, so long – and just even getting to do an event like this in that space and really advocate for that has been a huge success. With lots of hurdles.”

Nelson said she is less concerned with the food that might be served at Dalloway’s, and is instead focusing on making sure that Dalloway’s will serve as a solely student space.

“I don’t care as much about that aspect as I do of like it being a place that’s not the library, not the third floor Madeleva and not like a cubby hole in Spes [Unica],” Nelson said. “A place where students can go and hang out on the weekends, hang out on a Saturday afternoon and just be at Saint Mary’s and feel like it’s a step away from like an academic building.”

Though much of student life takes place within the classroom, Nelson said, students can benefit from building relationships and having separate conversations outside of the academic sphere.

“A lot of our student spaces are academic buildings,” she said. “And I don’t know if you can really build community in a classroom. I don’t think that that’s the best way to do it. I don’t think that’s super enriching to your college experience. So I would just say it’s a space where people can come together … if you can take like the essence of a Midnight Breakfast and put it into space, that’s what I’d like to see. Just a space where people can be.”

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About Maeve Filbin

Maeve is a senior studying political science and economics at Saint Mary's, as well as Journalism, Ethics and Democracy at Notre Dame. She serves as an Assistant Managing Editor of The Observer, and thinks everyone should support student journalism.

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