Davenport offers eco-friendly cups, new 'caf?'

Davenport offers eco-friendly cups, new 'caf?'
Juniors Kathy Rizzo and Charlie Caffrey study in the Davenport Lounge while drinking from new environmentally safe cups.

The Davenport Lounge continues down the green, progressive track this year with new, environmentally friendly cups and the opening of a weekly Conversation Caf? feature.

"Conversation Caf?s are drop-in community conversations in public places such as caf?s, bookstores or community centers," according to a press release sent by Sonja Hetrick, the Davenport's Conversation Caf? organizer. "Each week, the caf? will discuss a topic of mutual interest emerging from the people that attend."

While Hetrick has been promoting the Conversation Caf? concept since last spring, the lounge's managers weren't sure they wanted to institute the idea.

"Davenport is not usually available for group reservations during business hours," said Davenport Lounge manager Elissa Yotsuji. "I decided that we could try it a couple of times and see how things go."

The Conversation Caf? program is scheduled on Fridays from 1-2:30 p.m., which Yotsuji said is one of the lounge's slower times. The Davenport will only continue to host the meeting as long as it doesn't interfere with customer satisfaction, she said.

This does present a problem, as space for the Conversation Caf? is not guaranteed and the group can't be much larger than four people in order to keep disturbance to a minimum, Yotsuji said.

"Should the group be larger than that, it has been discussed that the Conversation Caf? would have to find a different location to hold its meetings," Yotsuji said.

While the Davenport hosts many group events, the lounge's staff stressed that the Conversation Caf? is a separate entity from the lounge's own business.

"No one who works here is running it," said Chrissy Hassel, a barista at the Davenport. "We don't really know that much about it."

The lounge's new cups are another change that has attracted attention from Davenport customers. Environmentally friendly paper cups have replaced the Styrofoam ones that have been used since the Davenport's 2004 opening.

While some customers have complained that their cups are smaller and more expensive, Yotsuji said that the cups have remained the same 12-ounce and 16-ounce sizes.

"Since the paper cups are less insulated than the Styrofoam cups, the cups appear smaller than before," Yotsuji said.

As for the higher price, Yotsuji said the Davenport could no longer afford to keep the drip coffee at the old prices of $.75 and $1.00 for small and large cups, respectively. A raise in vendor prices was the main cause in the price raise.

"We thought about raising prices after going fair trade; however, we did not want to discourage our customers from supporting fair trade products, so we kept our old prices," she said. "However, after this summer, we were unable to continue that."

Caroline Barrett, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public Affairs, said she doesn't mind the slight cost increase.

"It's definitely worth it to me to pay an extra 25 cents if it means avoiding Styrofoam," Barrett said. "What else was that 25 cents going to buy? A fifth of a Metro ride?"

Yotsuji said she hopes to maintain customer satisfaction by providing bonuses such as the frequent customer card, which entitles customers to one free drink after buying 12 if they bring their own cup.

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