Got $600 for a cup of coffee?

This message is addressed to the wealthy potential donors who read our blog religiously. We know there are many of you out there, even if so far you have failed to send a sign of your actual existence.

A frustration for faculty and students alike is that we possess no welcoming space outside of the classroom to interact. Many English departments at other universities and colleges have a lounge where teachers and students can go to nourish their caffeine addiction … and more importantly, share some words about Shakespeare or Melville or Hurston or the Red Sox. Personally I believe strongly in the power of such chance conversations. They always build community. They often lead to new insights. They sometimes change lives.

Gayle Wald, the Deputy Chair of English, recently showed me that the Department of German, Slavic and Romance Languages here at GW recently installed a FilterFresh III coffee machine. We have severe machine envy because this would be the perfect one for us: it requires no access to running water and creates no mess: simple push button operation. It takes a modest fee for each cup it dispenses (seventy five cents). It has become a congregation point in that department.

Those of you who have been to our department lounge know how sad the place is: a dirty table, a water cooler, a fridge, and some locked cabinets. I’d like to take the table out, put the FilterFresh III in, add a small sofa or some comfy chairs …. and make the place a between-class destitination for faculty and students to mingle and sip. The FilterFresh costs about $650, plus about $120/month to maintain (much of which is offset by the small fee for coffee). Please let me know if you are interested in helping us to bring about better faculty-student community via donating this machine …

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