The Hive Café Within Reach

Student Union says Student Run Café Coming Soon

Concordia Student Union VP Loyola & Advocacy Hassan Abdullahi stands at the site of the forthcoming Hive Café. Photo Christopher Curtis

With the expansion of the Loyola Luncheon just a few weeks away from completion, Concordia Student Union executives are looking beyond their slate’s campaign promises to develop a sustainable student run café at Loyola Campus.

Later this month, support staff will wrap up construction on an $80,000 overhaul of Concordia’s The Hive. An industrial sized oven, stove and dishwasher will be added to The Hive’s kitchen, which has seen its overall space double since renovation began earlier this year.

The expansion of the Loyola Luncheon—a five-day-a-week service that provides vegetarian lunches to students at Loyola Campus and will operate out of The Hive—has provided the CSU with an opportunity to launch a student run café that aims to be profitable, have fair labour practices and is sustainable.

“The idea to have a café in The Hive has been around for a long time,” said Alex Oster, former CSU VP Sustainability and Projects. “[In 2010] CUSACorp [the CSU’s for profit arm] suggested we get Tim Horton’s or Java U to set up a franchise in The Hive. That irked me, I thought we could do so much better.”

Shortly into his mandate, Oster began developing a plan to turn the space into a café that would buy locally produced food but also serve as a learning tool for students.

Sustainable Concordia’s Cameron Stiff chipped in by coordinating the Food Systems Program, a group of five student interns that measured the environmental impact of the café and drafted a business plan to present to the CSU.

“Nobody at Concordia had ever been doing the kind of guided and channeled research [Stiff] was doing with the interns,” said Oster. “They developed a plan that made it so that business students could come and learn how to run a business at the café, a space where human geography students could learn how space and place affects what you consider to be the campus.”

CSU VP Loyola and Advocacy Hassan Abdullahi and CSU VP Sustainability and Promotions Morgan Pudwell are seeing Oster’s plan through.
Abdulahhi said the café’s opening is tentatively slated for January.

“There could always be delays,” he added. “But we want it open before the end of the school year at the latest.”

The space will be host to a co-op program, where John Molson School of Business students will manage the café for course credits and valuable field experience.

“You’ll also be interacting with your space,” said Pudwell. “Students will have access to a resource library in The Hive where they can learn about sustainability or just study.”

Under Concordia’s new food policy, students can’t use campus space to cook food without applying for a permit, leaving most of the university’s food services in the hands of catering businesses and privately owned eateries.

“The [new policy] just shows you how we need something like The Hive café,” said Oster. “Especially at Loyola Campus, people have wanted something like this for years.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 08, published October 5, 2010.