The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Rea Coffeehouse goes back in time to the 1920s

With the Rea Coffeehouse cleanup occurring on Saturday, March 1, the Rea and Laughlin Residence Hall Council (RHC) decided to increase interest in the space by using it to host the event “Roaring 20s in Rea Coffeehouse” on Friday, February 21.

The space–which was decorated with string lights, fake alcohol bottles, and tall round tables covered in blue and white table clothes–was filled with people milling about as jazz music played from the speakers on the stage. In keeping with the theme, first year Abby Beckwith stood behind the bar making mocktails with inventive names like the “Bees Knees” (lemon, honey, and orange juice), “Beer with Root” (root beer), and even “Hard Cider” (regular apple cider).

In the main room, people–dressed to the nines in sparkling shirts, flapper dresses, and headbands–stood around socializing and enjoying the atmosphere. When asked where she got her 1920’s themed outfit, First Year Margaret McGovney enthusiastically praised the usefulness of thrift stores for finding such clothing items.

Among all of the socializing, some students chose to take advantage of the music and danced–showing off their talents for swing dancing in the process.  In explaining why the event appealed to her, First Year Sarah Bangley explained that she used to go to a swing dancing club, where she learned some moves, and that this event “seemed like a good excuse to go swing dancing.”  “Also”, she said, “it just sounded like fun.”

Senior Birtie Yarroll echoed her sentiments, and went on to explain that she would take “any excuse to come down here and look at the angry feminist graffiti.”

Both were glad that the Rea and Laughlin RHC was making use of the Rea Coffeehouse, and they agreed that there should definitely be more events like this one in the future.

Tahmina Tursonzadah, First Year Rea and Laughlin RHC member, and one of the people in charge of the event, later explained that the point of the event was to get people interested in the Rea Coffeehouse in preparation for its official opening. As she said, they were trying to “get the juices flowing in this place.”  In addition to that, though, it was also just a normal RHC event to allow Chatham students to get together and socialize, explained Junior Emily Kocian.

Kocian, who also helped to plan the event, explained that she did so because she, “really like[s] being part of the community and being part of the planning process.” She also emphasized that the planning was really a collaborative effort among the entire RHC.

One of the ideas that Kocian and the RHC came up with was a makeshift photo booth consisting of a white sheet strung up against the wall.  First Year Alice Shy stood near it to take people’s photos, either with or without the fake lips and mustaches.

Other activities included a station for making headbands, with materials including sparkling elastic bands and feathers, as well as hot glue to hold everything together.

The participation and enthusiasm at the event made it clear that McGovney was not alone in her opinion when she enthusiastically exclaimed, “the 20s are awesome!”

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