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Colorado CollegeBulletin | March 2006
by Naomi Botkin '07

Sacred Grounds

photos by Lucy Emerson-Bell '08
Brewing in Shove's Basement

Looking for a musical venue, blank canvas, or political forum? The new Sacred Grounds coffee house in Shove Memorial Chapel has it all.

Since arriving at CC, Chaplain Bruce Coriell has worked to make Shove a welcoming place for both Colorado College and Colorado Springs. Until spring 2005, the rarely used basement space remained the last unseated piece of the puzzle.

That spring, says Coriell, several campus trends set the stage for Sacred Grounds: concerns about fair-trade coffee (identified through a campaign against exploitation of South American coffee farmers); the demand for late-night, alcohol-free social spaces; and a sudden surge of student artistry.

Assistant Chaplain and now Associate Dean of Students Ginger Morgan ’86 initiated the discussion about using the space in the Shove basement. Coriell and Morgan agreed that the space must be managed by students, so they handed over the project with the message, “It’s your vision.”

Louise Sanseau ’06 was thrilled to hear that the campus would have a late-night social space. Her concerns about fair-trade coffee, a subject she learned much about during travels in the Americas, set her up as a key player for the creation of the coffee house. She now manages Sacred Grounds with help from mentor and Shove Chapel Manager Linda Madden, who calls it “a wonderful marriage between an idea and a group of people.”

“I’d like to have every student feel like this is their space,” says Sanseau. Students picked out environmentally friendly paints and fabrics, assembled and painted stools, bought secondhand rugs and furniture, and decided to serve mate tea and use a French coffee press in lieu of purchasing a commercial espresso machine.

Since it opened in October, hundreds of students have taken refuge in Sacred Grounds’ welcoming atmosphere. Blank wall space is open to any artist with a brush or any activist with a news article.

It’s an open space, and it’s open late.