Union can keep Coffeehouse unique

We are writing this letter because we care about the future of the Duke Coffeehouse. We have rocked out there to the sounds of the B-sides, Two Dollar Pistols, Malt Swagger and Jett Rink, and we wished we were there in 1992 when Beck played. We have spent hours contemplating the aliens on the walls. Despite our record of attending 9:10s, we have gone to the Coffeehouse at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning to play the lottery that is the annual WXDU record sale. We appreciate that the Coffeehouse is one of the few places that we can kick back on couches straight out of the movie Friday while avoiding the hustle of bustle of Duke. We have no desire to see the coolness of the Coffeehouse co-opted.

And we’re members of the Duke University Union.

Having been tasked with the management of the Coffeehouse this year, the Union has formed a Coffeehouse committee. The committee is open to any interested Duke student, employee or community member (as are all Union committees) and has made applications available online at www.union.duke.edu. As of yet, no particular person has been appointed as manager. As patrons of the Coffeehouse, we hope that all students, especially those who have enjoyed it as much as we have, will choose to become involved.

In his Sept. 22 column, Joost Bosland wrote that “by making it [the Coffeehouse] open to all—as the Union idealistically claims to be its policy—the Coffeehouse will no longer be open to its original constituency.” We are puzzled by this statement. The Union has always maintained an open door policy in its programming; all members of the Duke community are encouraged to play an active role. This is not to say the Union only promotes “one-size-fits-all” programming on campus. Rather, the Union is committed to providing a wide range of options from which students can choose, the Coffeehouse now being another one of those options.

Nothing would upset us more than to see white walls and commons room furniture in the Coffeehouse. We agree that maintaining the unique feel of the Coffeehouse is important, and we now leave it to whoever joins the Coffeehouse committee to uphold this vision while still ensuring that is a functional space. We encourage you to take an active role and make the Coffeehouse a place you want to go. Bosland implores us to “up the frequency of events, claim the space as yours by going there as often as possible, be vocal about your concerns.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


Douglas Dumont

Pratt ’02

Charlotte Vaughn

Trinity ’05


Share and discuss “Union can keep Coffeehouse unique” on social media.