New coffee lounge opens

AMS President Paul Heisler, Common Ground’s favourite customer.
AMS President Paul Heisler, Common Ground’s favourite customer.

As the grand opening of Common Ground, the new campus coffee lounge owned and operated by the Alma Mater Society (AMS) kicked off last Friday night, both staff and students expressed enthusiasm about the establishment’s future as a viable student service. Located on the second level of the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC), the Common Ground opening celebration became a hub of campus life. Students from all years came to sample a variety of gourmet coffees, desserts, and sandwiches and to take in an atmosphere energized by musical performances from Pat Ang and Stephanie Earp and an exhibit of art work by Rachel Villaneuva.

Both AMS President Paul Heisler, who initiated the plans for the construction of an on-campus coffee and entertainment venue along with his executive colleagues and Common Ground Manager Jhod Cardinal, were impressed by the student turnout at the opening and optimistic about the continued appeal of the coffee lounge.

“I’m really excited to see Common Ground open and see so many people enjoying it and I think as the year goes on it will only become more and more successful,” said Heisler.

“It’s good to see that students are supporting us right off the bat,” echoed Cardinal.

Both the AMS Executive and the Common Ground staff affirmed that the establishment has been quite prosperous since opening to students five days before the actual ribbon cutting event.

“Sales have been unbelievable. They’ve totally exceeded our expectations,” reported AMS Vice-President (Operations) Bart Bonikowski.

“Our suppliers are both loving us and hating us right now because were constantly ordering more and more. It’s a good problem to have,” commented Common Ground Manager (marketing and entertainment) Amanda Heale.

Despite long line-ups and the unavailability of particular listed coffee flavours at times throughout the night, many students attending the grand opening supported the venture overall and were prepared to be patient as service glitches worked themselves out.

“It’s something run by Queen’s students for Queen’s students. In the beginning [the staff] couldn’t quite make a cappuccino and they would take a long time, but nobody cares because it’s students learning something new and its created a lot of jobs for Queen’s students,” commented Sonia Noble Art Sci ’03.

Sean Mills, ConEd ’01, sees Common Ground as a means of diversifying the choices students have on campus in terms of food services.

“It think it’s a great alternative to Marriott food services I’m very happy to support something else on campus... Good coffee, good prices, very convenient location, and its open late,” he commented.

Heisler explained that while student feedback has been very positive, the aim of Common Ground as a student service will be to seek constant improvement.

“I think that the managers of Common Ground always see it as a work in progress and I think they’ve done a tremendous job in bringing it to this point but there’s always room for improvement. I think there are definitely areas where we can make the Common Ground even better,” he said.

Cardinal was confident regarding the ability of the Common Ground staff to refine service efficiency.

“We hope that the speed is going to quicken and we hope that very shortly, if not tonight, we [will demonstrate] that we can stay on top of things and it should not be a problem in the future,” he explained.

“We’re busier than we expected, but we’re ready for the long haul.”

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