Campus Coffee House Provides Pre-Finals Stress Relief

Williston added a twist to the first trimester assessment week this year by having an informal Coffee House for people to unwind and let out their creative energy.

On November 16, the Saturday of the coming up assessment week, Tandem was open from 8 to 10 p.m. serving snacks, bagels, and hot drinks. In a special collaboration with Williston, Tandem was packed with students and even faculty, many of whom took part in the open mic night; some even mustered the courage to make their public singing debut.

Erin Davey, Director of Inclusion and Community Life, credited Sarah Sawyer, Head of the English Department, who cane up with the “brilliant idea.”

Davey went in details in an email regarding the early stages of the planning and how the event came to be.

“Chris and Andrea Zawacki, the owners of Tandem, are parents of three Williston alums,” Davey wrote to The Willistonian. “Because I worked closely with two of their kids, Cade and Molly, I had built a relationship with them over the years. Setting up a meeting with Chris was easy as he was so willing to help.” Davey went on to add, “Once we met and went over the details, he loved the idea of working with Williston students and extended the invite for the first ever Tandem/Williston coffee house.”

Davey also commended the Williston community for the “amazing energy” they brought forth.

Regarding the idea of offering every attendee a bagel and a drink, Davey said, ” the fastest way to a teenager’s heart is free food.”

Davey finished her email by stating the importance of the Tandem workers and their immense help behind the scenes to make the Saturday night so memorable for the students.

“Well, I first need to say that they were awesome and I’m so grateful for their care and support,” Davey mentioned. “Two Tandem employees plus Chris and Andrea worked overtime and stayed late to make sure the event ran smoothly.”

Sarah Kimmel ’20, one of the co-leaders of the Wildest Cats, took her singing to the stage with a group of her friends: Oscar DeFrancis ’20, Nat Markey ’20, Penn Cancro 20′, Sarah Markey ’22, and Benning Johnson ’22. They sang “Over the River and Through the Woods” by Lydia Maria Child.

Sarah went again for another shot but this time chose “Love Story” by Taylor Swift with her friends.

“I had a wonderful time embarrassing myself, and I really enjoyed the bagels as well,” she said. “I think it was a very fun de-stressor.”

Casey Feins ’20, who, with her friend Bryn Saarela, another senior, sang, “I’ll Always Remember You,” by Hannah Montana.

“It was a really great event to bring our whole community together in a low-stress environment before assessment week,” recalled Casey.

She also told The Willistonian that she felt comfortable in front of the mic because it was a safe space for her to be herself.

Sara Johnson ’21 thought the Coffee House was filled with “positive energy” and agreed with Casey that it brought the everyone together.

“It was invigorating to be a performer,” she said smiling.

Michael Curtis ’21 was in attendance at the event.

“I think it was fun,” he said. “Everyone put in a good performance and I am looking forward to the next one.”