Don’t be shocked when all the Coffee House employees are wearing tie-dye on Monday – it’s just how the Coffee House is celebrating its 40th birthday.
“People might be a little freaked out, when they look up at the cashier,” said special events intern Cecilia Landholt, who was responsible for much of the planning. “But we’re just getting the word out about our 40th anniversary and sending a big thank you to all of our customers and employees.”
The source of affordable on-campus food for over 7,000 people daily officially turns 40 on Thursday, and will be celebrating each previous decade of operation with costumes and music.
The Coffee House was established by ASUCD in 1968 with the goal of providing high quality food in a coffee shop atmosphere where students could relax between classes, according the Coffee House’s website. Forty years and two location changes later, the student-run organization is a $3,200,000 per year retail operation employing over 240 students.
The celebration starts today when student employees will dress in hippie-wear and work to 1960s music.
“We’ve all been encouraged to make playlists for this week with music for the corresponding decades,” said kitchen supervisor Nicole Davenport, a junior history major. “And it should be fun to dress in ‘80s wear and rock to a decade we don’t remember.“
Tuesday will be 1970s themed – the decade the Coffee House moved to the Memorial Union and started using student-grown vegetables – and Wednesday will celebrate the 1980s.
The real tribute to the student-run organization’s history will be Thursday afternoon, said Landholt, who has been planning the event since June.
“It’s our big finale, from 2 to 3 p.m. we’ll have a cake cutting with alumni and current employees coming in from all over,” she said. “We’ve even invited some of the first student managers from 1968, and are very hopeful they’ll make it.“
The campus community is then invited from 3 to 4 p.m. for refreshments and an open house, where they can browse memorabilia from over the years and listen to a live performance from the Coho Live music competition winner.
“October is a great month for this since people are on campus and freshmen are starting to get used to things,” Landholt said.
Other specials for the campus community are available all week. Coffee will be sold for 40 cents, and a bakery dish corresponding to the decade being celebrated that day will cost 60 cents.
Landholt emphasized that beyond the festive wear and cheaper food, the purpose behind the week is to honor the 40 years of excellent student-run food service.
“People are still surprised today. We had a company we were working with ask to see the kitchen the other day and they couldn’t believe the responsibility of our students – it seems only the Davis community can comprehend it,” Landholt said.
Davenport said the student leadership is the first thing she mentions when telling people about her job.
“It’s probably one of the coolest places to work, and the camaraderie is similar to a team, nobody hates coming in,” she said. “I think it’s impossible to work at the Coho and not make friends.“
MIKE DORSEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.