Coffee Mess: Making Wednesdays Brighter

January 8, 2010

Every Wednesday morning, students and faculty can be seen walking into the Law School's Green Lounge with a little extra spring in their step.

What makes Wednesday so special? Take a look at the tables lined with boxes of bagels and donuts of just about every variety and you'll realize the draw.

It's the Law School's Coffee Mess, a weekly social tradition of downing a light breakfast and a cup of joe while catching up with friends, chatting with professors, challenging each other to board games, or cramming in that last bit of reading before heading to class.

Coffee Mess gives students and faculty the opportunity to mingle in a relaxed atmosphere outside of class and away from books. It can be a time for them to meet and get to know Dean Michael Schill in his first quarter here at the Law School. Or they can use the gathering as a chance to run quick questions by Dean of Students Michele Richardson.

Former Dean Saul Levmore started Coffee Mess several years ago, styling the event after its Friday counterpart, Wine Mess. Chicago Law students have a long tradition of staying at school a few extra hours on Fridays to socialize at Wine Mess, known as the best place to meet friends in students' first year and an easy way to unwind after a week of rigorous academic debate.

The usual spread at Coffee Mess includes mounds of fresh fruit, bagels and cream cheese galore, and a dazzling array of donuts-strawberry glazed, chocolate glazed, Boston cream, with and without sprinkles, cake.... (You get the point.) Coffee gives many students a welcome caffeine boost, which might provide an edge to those who choose to strike up a game on the Green Lounge's foosball table.

The event's unwavering regularity makes it a bright spot in the middle of each week, a "power break" of sorts that leaves students ready to finish the week strong. Its widespread popularity is evident from the frequent mentions Coffee Mess receives on TweetChicago, the Law School's collection of student and faculty Twitter feeds.

Some students say the sun shines a little brighter on Coffee Mess days. We think it makes Wednesdays really "sweet."