Coffee shop in Kresge Library may be a reality

“We need a coffee shop in the library.”

According to Kresge Library Dean Julie Voelck, this is the number one thing students say to her.

She was a guest speaker at Monday’s Oakland University Student Congress meeting.

For about $90,000 they could renovate the glassed-in meeting room on the right-hand side of the entrance and install vending machines.

She said she too has wanted a café in Kresge since 2002 and wants to do this “full-tilt, not just partially.”

The estimated cost of building a full café is $160,000, according to Voelck, which includes necessary construction and equipment.

She currently has $80,000 from student fees and fines that she’s been saving since 2002 and a $10,000 commitment from OUSC.

Voelck said she plans to raise the rest mostly from donors.

“I will find the money. You’ve heard it here and I mean it,” Voelck said.

Several legislators pressed for a monetary investment from Chartwells, who would be running the café and making 100 percent of the profits.

Gerald Gatto, Chartwells executive chef, said that the decision would come from “higher up.”

Voelck said she was told by upper level administration that “we need to give Chartwells the first option.”

A few legislators also urged Voelck to consider making the café 24/7, but the library doors have an electric counter that shows few people are there after 10 p.m.

It would also be difficult for security reasons, she said, but if there’s enough student demand for it she’d be willing to look into it.

Voelck and Gatto said they wanted the supplier to have a strong focus on sustainability.

So far they’ve only talked with Peet’s Coffee & Tea, a fair-trade certified company based in California, but told student congress, which expressed a desire that the company be Michigan based, that they’ll take suggestions until the end of this semester.

Free samples of Peet’s coffee, tea and desserts were available at the meeting.

“I’m a coffee snob; it’s good coffee,” Voelck said.

Voelck said they plan to break ground in the summer and have a grand opening in the fall, which Gatto promised would feature free coffee.