Cafe Lyle provides a sense of community for engineering students

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Photo credit: Campbell Flemmons

The Cox School of Business has Einstein’s Bagels. Meadows has P.O.D. and the atrium. Almost every school has it’s own area where students can congregate while snacking, studying or socializing. However, the Lyle School of Engineering does not have such a place.

Sophomore engineering major Caleb Kyle wanted to change this. On Thursday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Kyle hosted a pop-up area in the Caruth atrium called Cafe Lyle. With support and funding from professors and staff, Kyle was able to provide snacks, coffee and a place for engineering students to hang out.

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Photo credit: Campbell Flemmons

“I think our school could really benefit from something like this,” Kyle said about Cafe Lyle.

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Photo credit: Campbell Flemmons

Several weeks ago, Kyle submitted a formal proposal to the Lyle faculty. He said that Lyle needed a community space and a place where students could unwind, relax and work with friends. He believed it would provide a stronger sense of community and collaboration among students.

Within minutes of setting up, students were already flocking toward the area grabbing coffee and pastries.

“It’s been really well received, more so than I thought it would be,” said Kyle.

When he began advertising the event, students were eager to help and excited about the potential benefits of a cafe.

Sophomore pre-med human rights major Cecilia Emden Hands heard about the cafe and was glad to help out and promote Cafe Lyle to fellow students.

“It’s a place where people with different projects can come in to share information and ideas and to potentially come up with new ideas and new projects that wouldn’t have been possible without this casual interaction,” Emden Hands said.

Students seemed to really enjoy the free treats and social area. One side of the atrium had a table and chairs for those who wanted to focus on work while the other side had couches where many students were sitting and chatting. There were even a few white boards where students could write what they were thinking.

There are no current plans for a permanent cafe or additional pop up cafes, but Cafe Lyle showed that this type of area is what many engineering students are looking for.

“I think it would be really cool to get a permanent space,” said Kyle. “But maybe until then we could do more of these for the community because it seems to be really working well.”

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