UNB’s in-person classes have been in session for nearly three weeks; so, too, has the Harriet Irving Library’s Commons Café. Who among us can resist the delectable goodness of the café’s muffins, smooth self-serve coffee machines, and my personal favourite – the soup of the day (if you haven’t had the cauliflower cheese soup you have not lived). But the best part of the HIL Café is the lovely ladies that work there. They can quell your stress with only a few simple words: “What can I get you, hon?”
In honour of the HIL Café’s return, I spoke with longtime Sodexo employee and local celebrity, Doreen. If you have not yet met Doreen, do yourself a favour and buy a coffee or pastry next time you’re at the library. Doreen will call you “hon” about 4-7 times in the span of just a few short moments, and you’ll soon realise that there is indeed still good in this world: and that good is Doreen.
Doreen spoke highly of the students that frequented the café, telling me they are her favourite part of being back at the HIL. Doreen’s least favourite part of being back is the plexi glass that separates her from her adoring fans.
“It’s not the same connection, being seperated like that from people,” she explained. I asked Doreen if she had any advice to give students. “Treat school like a job,” she replied. “Sometimes it will overlap into your free time but I do believe you can get the majority of your work done during work hours.” What better place to turn into your own personal office than the Commons Café.
The newly renovated third floor is a popular study spot for many students. It has study rooms, tables, computers, and couches. Since you have your pick of where and how you want to study, it’s the perfect spot to work on group projects. If you want a quiet study space that makes you feel like you’re a character in Dead Poets Society, walk up to the top floor and check out the Lord Beaverbrook room. The Beaverbrook room hosts Lord Beaverbrook’s personal collection of books and is decorated with wall-to-wall blood-red carpets, long wooden tables, and throne-like chairs.
The HIL is my favourite spot on campus to study due to the variety of spaces available. Plus, the library’s tunnel system is a lifesaver during cold winter days. Still, the Café remains unmatched. Not only is Doreen wonderful but so is everyone else that works there. It boasts an array of different foods so everyone is bound to find something that they like. I can’t, as a reporter in good conscience, write an article about the HIL Café without mentioning their croissants. Ask anyone who has had one and they’ll let you know that they’re criminally good. If you love the HIL Café like so many other students do, be sure to tell Doreen and the ladies there how much we all appreciate them; I’m sure they don’t hear it enough.