Music Department starts Coffee Club

By Kaisa Siipola, Reporter

There’s only 10 minutes until your next class, but the winter chill and lack of sleep combo have you jonesing for your next cup of coffee. There’s only one problem. You’re in the coffee-free reaches of the Communication, Arts, Theater and Radio-TV building, and 10 minutes isn’t enough to make it inland and back.

The EWU Music Coffee Club began providing a convenient and inexpensive place to grab coffee, hot cocoa, cider or tea and support the music department during fall quarter.

“The format of the club is we are technically a club and are setup as a fundraiser to do a daily coffee shop,” club Vice President Alleya Kolar said. “So we use our volunteers availability based on their schedules to come with a combined schedule where there are two people working the stand and they just volunteer.”  

Since the club is in the startup process, any funds that it’s currently making are going directly to restocking and purchasing equipment.

Once the club obtains a regular income, its goal is to give any excess of funds that aren’t used for purchasing coffee or equipment to the music department for instruments that need repairs. Funds can also be used to bring in guest artists or to advertise the department to Spokane schools, according to club President Nathan Sumerlin.

“As being an art department in a college it can kind of be forgotten at times so we wanted to have funds when there is a music conference because it can be expensive for students to attend without help,” Kolar said.

Music conferences, like the annual Nafme Conference, can become costly when including a hotel room, according to Kolar.

Since the money is going to a good cause, being the music department and its students, you can get a hot drink and know that you’re helping EWU students.”

— Christopher Fisher, Junior

Sumerlin reached out to John Middleton, Interim Department Chair of Music, saying that it would be nice to have access to coffee in the arts complex to reduce the time that commuting takes to get a coffee at Thomas Hammer.

According to Middleton, ASEWU provided Middleton and Sumerlin some startup money to begin the club after they attended an ASEWU meeting and Sumerlin introduced the idea for coffee on the other side of campus.

The music department provided the club a table and tablecloth.

The club uses a Keurig and a drip coffee machine because the university didn’t allow them to have an espresso machine.

The biggest challenge for the club is providing consistent hours, because everyone that is available to volunteer has a scattered hour or two of free time throughout the week.

Volunteering in the art department provides a great opportunity for students to bond, a sense of belonging, and possible friendships that could last a lifetime, according to Kolar.

“Last quarter on a Thursday the stand would open from 8-10 a.m. but no one would be available to from 11 a.m. to noon so we would have shut down and then reopen later,” Sumerlin said. “That’s the issue that we ran into this quarter.”

The club would like to provide some consistent hours while ensuring that volunteers aren’t feeling overworked or over-committed.

“One of our biggest points to people volunteering is that we will only give them one hour a week unless they specify that they can do more,” Sumerlin said.

Joining the club can be a great learning opportunity for students to gain entrepreneurial skills such as making a budget for purchasing supplies, setting prices for the beverages and providing customer service, according to Middleton.

Once the club is efficient and consistent to its full potential, Sumerlin says it is a lot of fun and that everybody who has worked in it has said that they would do it again.

Currently there are about 25 members, and many of them are unavailable to contribute to working the coffee stand this quarter, according to Sumerlin.

Junior Christopher Fisher enjoys the club’s location, dedication from its members, its friendly atmosphere and the coffee.

“With its location in the art complex, it is convenient for students who spend their time there so they don’t have to walk across campus for a hot drink,” Fisher said. “Since the money is going to a good cause, being the music department and its students, you can get a hot drink and know that you’re helping EWU students.”

Students can purchase a drip coffee for $1.75 and purchase tea, hot cocoa and cider for a dollar each. There is a 25 cent discount if the customer has their own coffee cup.

The club is open to all students to join.

For more information on the club, go to the Brew Note Facebook Page or [email protected].