By Vax Jones
Elm Staff Writer
The Career Center launched their Career Café this week with an open house that allowed students and faculty to visit the new space for themselves.
Executive Director for Career Development Nanette Cooley said that it is an “accessible, warm, and friendly” place for students to drop in between classes or whenever they have free time.
The café is a newly-remodeled area of the Rebecca Corbin Loree Center for Career Development. The café has beverages, such as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, but also offers the free use of laptops. These laptops sit on high-top counters that are outfitted with outlets and USB charging ports.
According to Cooley, these laptops will be available for all students. She encourages students to stop by and use them. While they are intended to help students with job searches, they can be used for anything, even just to check emails.
The main goal of the Career Café is to foster relationships between students and the Career Center staff.
According to Cooley, building relationships with career advisors is important because employers start looking for potential employees among college students early — a process known as early talent identification. “Students should start taking advantage of the Career Center as early as their first semester,” Cooley said.
Georgina Bliss, one of the career coaches at the Career Center, said the café will help students talk to career advisors, since “not everyone has time for a 30-minute appointment.
Bliss recalls how the café idea came up in the first place.
According to Bliss, there was a storm last summer, and she “laid down on the sofa waiting for the storm to pass,” and started thinking that the space was underutilized.
She then spoke with Cooley, who agreed, and with the help of donor Rebecca Corbin Loree, they began to plan how to transform this section of the center. The café was under construction throughout the fall semester, and while it was finished right before winter break, they decided to launch it at the beginning of the spring semester.
According to Bliss, the café will give students a way to connect quickly and continuously with the Career Center, and that its very design has that in mind.
The high-top counters were chosen so students would feel like the space was for “quick self-service.”
“Students could come in groups, and friends could easily lean over their shoulders while working on the laptops,” Bliss said.
Students flocked to the café for its grand opening, filling the Career Center and getting acquainted with its new section.
“It looks cozy and very comfortable,” sophomore Michaela Creel said.
Bliss also said that while the Career Café is a good resource for students who have busy schedules or who want help with small things, the Career Center has other events specifically designed to assist students.
There is an opportunity next week, on Feb. 9, for sophomores only: Sophomore SOAR connects students with alumni and instructs on potential career directions. Space is limited, so the Career Center asks that students sign up in advance.