Coffeehouse Lounge re-opens as study and relaxation space

Grad students will have priority in reserving the room for events

The Coffeehouse Lounge on the third floor of the Stratton Student Center (W20) reopened last month as a space for students to “study, hangout, and relax,” according to promotional boards posted around the first floor. The room is now key-card controlled to limit access to MIT students during the academic year.

In an email interview with The Tech, Gustavo Burkett, MIT’s senior associate dean for diversity and community involvement, said that while the lounge is available for all students, groups reserving the space that provide programming for graduate students will have priority. During the summer and IAP, the space may be made available to rent by non-student groups.

When The Tech visited the newly opened space, several students were using the lounge as a study space.

“The lounge is especially nice because it’s quiet and spacious, as this floor is mostly unoccupied,” Sally Liu ’20 said in an interview with The Tech. “The lighting is also optimal.”

Julia Lee ’19 echoed Liu’s comments. Lee told The Tech that she prefers studying in the Coffeehouse Lounge over the study rooms on the fifth floor of the Student Center, as the fifth floor is often crowded. “It’s nice to still be at the Student Center and get studying done,” said Lee.

Burkett explained, “The Coffeehouse Lounge in W20 had been used for a concert series until 2001 that did not draw hoped-for audiences. Since then, the space has been used for a wide variety of events and programs throughout the year.”  

Burkett said that they received several student requests for “more lounges for studying, socializing, and events.” In response, Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean for student life, and students from the Graduate Student Council, Undergraduate Association, undergraduate residence halls, and Campus Activities Complex (CAC) Advisory Board worked on developing a students-only lounge space and identified the Coffeehouse Lounge as a prime location last fall.

Since then, CAC has installed amenities including table games, a microwave, and a water fountain in the Coffeehouse.