Let’s all go to the Bistro! The student-run success of WU

Apr 27th, 2017 | By | Category: 2016-2017, Lifestyles

By Amarit Ubhi
Sports Layout Editor

Whenever I am at the Bistro, I can’t help but be impressed by how much of a progressive place it is. The bistro excels in creating a lively atmosphere for the Willamette community to hang out at odd hours, chat, eat food etc. But what exactly makes the Bistro the popular place that it is?

Perhaps the most obvious reason the Bistro is so hip is because it is student-run. This gives the Bistro a vantage point to take student ideas and easily put them into action. These ideas clearly reflect the student body’s ideas and attitudes about issues that are prevalent to us.

For example, the student-demand for coffee and food really got this started. According to the Bistro page on the Willamette University website, “In 1985…Willamette students Eric Fishman and John Donovan realized that their campus had a problem: there was nowhere for students to hang out in the evening, much less late at night. After the cafeteria is closed for dinner, there was no place for a hungry student to grab a snack without going off-campus.” This is evidently still true for the student body today.

The Bistro is able to provide so many food options that makes it very appealing in comparison to the rest of campus. The Bistro serves great vegan, gluten free and vegetarian options that really help break from the monotony that is Goudy. Today, the gluten free pizza (yum) was a great hit.

Aside from the food and hours, the sense of community and safe-space that the Bistro provides is the most noteworthy to me. Bistro barista KayLyn Stirton really appreciates the communal space as well.

“I think the atmosphere in general, playing any type of music and the very communal place. The library is very restrictive and people are [can act like] their own. Student-run means it’s one big family,” said Stirton.

A frequent Bistro-goer, Savanna Steele, says that she is really drawn to the Bistro because, “it’s completely student-run and all the ideas like the student artwork, fun food—the students can make what they want and if it sells they keep doing that. If progress is made on campus this is where it’s allowed.”

The Bistro is also amazing for its ability to provide students with a place to share their experiences and feelings. From the student art that hangs up on the brick walls, to the chalk-painted pillars and walls, the Bistro welcomes the sharing of ideas and feelings with big arms.

My favorite component of how the Bistro helps provides students with a space to share their voice would be Open Mic. For a few evenings in a semester, the Bistro hosts an Open Mic for students to perform poetry, sing songs or just talk about how they are feeling. This taps into the freedom that the Bistro has that other places on campus don’t.

“ Everyone is welcome to do come here. It’s always a grounding place to come to. The Bistro really defines me as a person” Steele said.



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