Popular student hangout closes without notice

Story by Sabra Jackson, Staff writer 

Hart Cafe did not reopen for the Fall 2017 semester, leaving students without a quiet hub to study.    

Ally Buhr, senior from Bloomington, Indiana, said the cafe was a cozy place to go study when she needed a quiet place to be alone.

“I was really planning on studying there,” Buhr said. “I work in Hart as a desk person during the semester, so I was always able to go in before work or after, so I was pretty sad.”

This semester, she said she will head outside to find a quiet place to study and get coffee at Thoroughbred Cafe.

Zachary Ryne, graduate occupational safety and health student from Bowling Green, Kentucky, worked at Hart Cafe during the 2017 spring semester.

“Dining services itself did not extend any kind of a warning to anyone,” Ryne said. “They didn’t say ‘hey this is going to be happening’. The supervisors were informed and they told us they think this is going to happen.”

As far as the equipment used in the cafe, Ryne said it is just sitting in storage waiting until the next step.

Ryne said one thing he will miss most about the cafe is talent nights. He said his favorite performer was “Tan the Man,” local disc jockey and one of Ryne’s Phi Mu Alpha fraternity brothers.

“It was really nice to be there and support him during his ‘infant stages’ of DJing,” Ryne said.

The customers were another of Ryne’s favorites. He said the cafe had the coffee shop vibe, being very relaxed and at ease.

He said he was “bummed” to find out Hart Cafe closed.

“The worst thing is probably is that it’s not open at all,” Ryne said. “It would have been cool if they had opened the doors and said ‘this is a study lounge for the semester.’”

Student workers from Hart Cafe were transferred to different areas in dining services such as the Thoroughbred Room, the Thoroughbred Café and Market 22.

Shawn Touney, director of communications, said the closing was a result of evaluating direct and indirect costs to the university. These include student use and overall revenue from the cafe.

“Students may utilize Winslow Dining Hall on the residential side of campus for coffee options that are available through the unlimited meal plan,” Touney said.

He said the space is being evaluated to determine what is best for the future use.

“We’re optimistic that some decisions will be made later this academic year,” Touney said.