rip to the cyber cafe: gone too soon

by elizaligon & kelseydeemer

This year, the first floor of the library has been quiet. A little too quiet. To the juniors and seniors, the first floor has become completely unrecognizable. Ear-numbingly silent, the first floor of the library bears more resemblance to an elementary school standardized testing classroom than a hub of college vigor. First and second years may not know this, but the first floor library used to be a completely different place. What a tragedy! Where has the screeching gone? Where is the buzz of lively energy?  How are we supposed to hang out and pretend that we’re studying with our friends?

Lost upperclassmen ask themselves: why has the library changed so much? With the work of some investigative journalism, the Water Tower has uncovered the answer: the heart and soul of the first floor of the library has died. Yet another in a long list of failures on the part of UVM, a stain upon the reputation of both the Board and the President: the Cyber Cafe is no more. 

For those of you who have not basked in the ray of the Cyber Cafe’s light, it was…, for lack of a better word, Everything. In short, it was the prime hang location.  Anything and everything you could possibly need to power through the day (coffee, computers, printers, company) was crowded into this random corner of the library. The people who doled out the coffee always had something to say. They’d ask you about your day, make funny commentary about UVM administrators or professors, and generally enliven the student body in a way that coffee alone cannot. 

As we all know, the location with the most interesting aura in the Howe library is the basement where they have those rolling bookshelves; however, the location with the second most interesting aura is the Cyber Cafe corner. From above, light is shed by a single bulb hanging by a loose wire. On one side, a vending machine offers treats which will carry their purchaser across to the other side– a gender-neutral bathroom. A green, yellow, and purple color palette adorn the walls of this little slice of heaven. Truly, peak vibes are found in this corner. 

The Cyber Cafe was glorious, though always crowded and chaotic. Yes, the single downfall of the Cyber Cafe was its rush hour, which was every hour. Swarms of people packed like anchovies, a mix of under-rested college students who are either jittery and freshly caffeinated or about to fall asleep standing up. They push their way towards the technological tools, or the chairs, or the front of the cafe line, each grumpy in their own unique way. Would a person get work done in the Cyber Cafe? No, never. But that’s not what the Cyber Cafe was built for. The Cyber Cafe was built purely for The Vibes™. To study in the Cyber Cafe would be an insult to the UVM ritual of coffee and chat in the library in the morning.

Though the Cyber Cafe is dead and gone, its spirit remains, both in the physical location, and in the haunting absence of the chaos to which we were so acclimated. Today the Cyber Cafe stands as a hollow shell, a reminder of what once was, what could be, what we desire. Ghostly espresso fumes sail around the abandoned husk of a cafe, coming alive only to fuel the dreams of students who sleepily crash, falling face-first onto their chemistry lab report, which will never see completion. The lack of caffeine in the bloodstreams of studying students has made the library a deafeningly silent place. Without the joy brought to our lives by the Cyber Cafe baristas, we have no motivation to stay in school. The Cyber Cafe has died, and with it, the first floor of the library has become a threateningly sterile environment in which to study. 

The underclassmen may not understand that it is irresponsible for UVM students to treat the first floor of the library like it’s the second floor of the library. The first floor is the place to scream, shout, and let it all out. The first floor of the library was built with the intention of allowing students to give off the impression that they are hard at work, when in reality they’re shooting the shit and tweeting about their professors. (Activities which should take place with a mocha in hand.) Upperclassmen, we must teach the young ones that if you actually want to study, you’ll have to go up a flight or two of stairs. Nerds live on the second and third floors. 

The Water Tower will be hosting a memorial service for the deceased Cyber Cafe on November 31st, 2021. Please bring flowers, coffee, and materials to print.

Categories: kelsey deemer, oct. 12, side bar, vol 25

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