When classes resume in the fall, students will return to find Mocha Joe’s sporting an entirely new look. This summer, the beloved campus coffee shop will undergo substantial remodeling.
Partnering with the Business and Auxiliary Committee, SGA is overseeing this operation. SGA President Liam Crays spoke to the logistics of the remodeling process.
“We are currently in the process of purchasing new items to refresh Mocha Joe’s,” explained Crays. “Most of these updates will be implemented over the summer and ideally completed by August.”
There are several aspects of Mocha Joe’s that SGA plans to refresh.
“We are definitely replacing some of the old furniture and tables as we are starting to see some wear and tear on the current furniture,” said Crays. “We are also looking into different lighting options. Students asked for more outlets to be spread out throughout Mocha’s as well.”
According to Crays, the idea for updating Mocha Joe’s came straight from the student body.
“When we surveyed the student body on what they wanted to see the most, it was updates in Mocha’s,” Crays explained. “This is one of the most popular places for students to hang out, so why wouldn’t we try and touch it up?”
Crays explained that without the rest of the SGA staff, it would be impossible to tackle big projects like this. To prepare for this remodeling, the SGA staff asked for students to share their thoughts, ideas and comments.
“SGA’s role in the redesign began with a recognition that the student body has a passion for this space on campus and wants to see it flourish,” Crays said. “We wanted to give the student body what they wanted, so we knew we had to really understand what needed to be fixed. Accordingly, we held a focus group with a number of students who are really passionate about Mocha Joe’s in order to hone in on the finer details of what students would like to see.”
SGA Chief of Staff Josh Senft, who led the focus group, felt that the students were able to voice their opinions openly and honestly.
“We had that student focus group to determine what exactly it is students were looking for in Mocha Joe’s—what they like about it, what they don’t like about it—and I coalesced a lot of the information from that,” Senft explained. “They agreed that they would like to see Mocha Joe’s restored, reinvigorated and just all-around updated.”
According to Senft, the students asked specifically for new furniture, more pool sticks, more seating and a better overall aesthetic.
“From there, we worked with one of the university’s contractors to come up with an estimate of how many new chairs and new tables we would need, and what is within reason financially,” said Senft. “We looked at what we can purchase realistically to make Mocha Joe’s a better place on campus.”
Senft explained some specific changes students can expect to see in Mocha Joe’s now that the budget has been determined.
“Expect at minimum newer furniture, such as seating and tables,” said Senft. “In certain areas we will add some more lighting.”
Since Mocha Joe’s plays such a large role in campus life, the SGA staff understand that it is important to maintain the facilities.
“It is a place on campus that students really care about, and they are passionate about it,” Senft said. “It is a place that prospective students tend to visit, and it was even described as the heart of campus so, recognizing that, we want to make sure that it is something that is kept up really well and is invested in.”
Because of this, SGA was more than happy to organize and execute this considerable task, and they are pleased with the feedback they are receiving already.
“We are excited to take on this project,” stated Senft. “And it really came from the student body. We have had a lot of students come up to us and tell us that it is something they care about, and they are happy with the work we are taking on.”
According to Senft, the updating of Mocha Joe’s is deeper than just a cosmetic fix, and he hopes that it will have a positive effect campus-wide.
“This is to serve the student body and make AU, especially Mocha Joe’s, a place of community—something that is really valuable to students as well as the faculty and staff,” said Senft. “Mocha’s is a great place to foster that community.”