KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Big things are brewing as Western Michigan University's new student center moves closer to the finish line. Among its many innovative upgrades, visitors will enjoy a new brewpub when it opens in late summer 2022—one of the first in a campus student center in Michigan.
In addition to featuring local and regional beer, the establishment offers opportunities to showcase the work of students in Western's sustainable brewing program.
The University is currently seeking an operator for the 3,000-square-foot pub, which will have indoor space to host such live entertainment as bands, spoken-word performances and stand-up comedy to spotlight student talent and performers from the broader community.
"We're looking to partner with a local business or brewery that will highlight the wonderful beer culture in Southwest Michigan," says Paul Terzino, director of the Bernhard Center.
The pub will be open for lunch, dinner and late-night fare, but the menu will be up to the operator to develop. Terzino hopes it will be a space for employees and students to enjoy as well as visiting families and community members.
"If there's a program at Miller Auditorium, maybe you come and have a bite or beer before you go to the show. Or after a football or hockey game you could stop in," he says. "There are all kinds of programs and events on campus that will pair well with a stop at the pub before or after."
Four other quick-casual restaurants join the pub on the first floor of the student center, including:
Starbucks, the largest coffee shop chain in the world.
Fuego Verde, an authentic Latin-inspired eatery.
MiPi, a stone-fired pizza restaurant.
ReFresh Market, where diners can create grain, noodle and salad bowls. Deli sandwiches, a large selection of beverages and snacks are also available.
The new facility also will include a game room on the main floor with activities ranging from billiards and ping pong to esports and virtual reality, office and studio space for the student media group, an expanded Student Organization Center, a student art gallery and multiple lounges—some with poles for hammocks—among other amenities. Before construction even started, the center was designed through the lens of institutional diversity and multiculturalism, or IDM, incorporating discussions about welcomeness and inclusivity.
"From the very beginning, we wanted to make sure the building was inclusive, so all students feel welcome and comfortable—and that's both within the design and the programming," Terzino says.
The vision of the Division of Student Affairs is for the student center to be the heart of campus, enriching the student experience socially and intellectually by creating a safe hub of dialogue and a culture of civility. IDM-informed features in the new facility range from a Mosaic Affinity Suite, which includes meditation and prayer space as well as an ablution room, to an inclusive and adaptive dining experience. Every employee in the student center will also receive diversity and inclusion training regardless of where they work.
More information about the new facility, including floor plans and a list of other building features and dining options, is available online. The student center is part of Hilltop Village, a transformative development project that re-imagines the southern portion of Main Campus.
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