Three female students sitting around a table at Stinger's

Coffee Is Grounds for College Community Growth

by Bethany Priest, Student Public Relations Writer

Coffee and college students are not a novel combination, but Cedarville University’s blend of coffee and community just might be.

On the average weeknight, Rinnova, Cedarville’s coffee shop, is a hub for students in need of caffeine and time with friends, but Tuesday nights from 7-9 p.m. are something special. The coffee is discounted, cell phones are put away and students who’ve just met engage in thoughtful conversations.

This is Coffee and Community, a weekly event that began in 2016 to encourage students to interact with each other rather than their phones. Cedarville’s Student Government Association (SGA) offers discounted coffee for students who participate in the distraction-free discussions.

While the event is still a no-phone zone, the vision has been refined and its impact has expanded as students gain confidence from coffee and community to begin similar conversations throughout the week.

“It doesn’t end with a conversation on Tuesday nights,” said Colette Sweers, a sophomore biblical studies major from Auburn, Washington. Sweers discovered Coffee and Community as a freshman, and it’s helped her build deeper relationships with current friends and create new connections as well.

Students come to Coffee and Community to dive into topics sometimes neglected by casual chatter. “You get conversations going that you usually wouldn’t have with your friends,” says Meghan Burns, a sophomore industrial design major from Marysville, Michigan. “I definitely think it helps people get to know one another in a different way.”

Sweers, who is a member of this year’s campus community committee that runs Coffee and Community, explained the committee’s goal for the year.“It’s not just about the questions; it’s about the laughter; it’s about the friendships,” said Sweers. “We get to come together from all different backgrounds, sit around a table, set aside our differences and then let that effect ripple into the rest of campus.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,193 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu