Bethany College will hold a grand opening for its student-run coffee shop and smoothie bar, Nelson 116, on Friday, April 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. Events begin in Nelson Science Center room 116 at 7 p.m. followed by an open house until 9 p.m. Snacks will be provided.
Regular hours are 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Products include standard coffee, frappes, frozen and hot chocolate, a variety of tea, and smoothies.
Nelson 116 is currently managed by student Krista Akers, staffed by eight students, and advised by Professor of Biology Mark McDonald. Though many college and university campuses are home to coffee shops, Nelson 116 is unique. The project began in 2011 when unused space in Nelson Science Center was designated as a living and learning classroom with a mission: promote Bethany core values of community, sustainability, hospitality, and servant leadership and adapt to the needs of the current student population.
The project began with six students, Nichole DeChant, Marcy Erb, Michael Baker, Clint Jasen, Hannah Reber, and Lauren von Klinggraeff who were advised by McDonald and Campus Pastor Noni Strand. After exploring options, it was determined an eco-friendly coffee shop open past the hours of most local businesses would fulfill this mission.
“It’s pretty awesome that I’ve been involved in the opening of a business even though I’m only 21 and a biology major,” says Lauren von Klinggraeff. Students are given a real-world leadership, innovation, and business management experience by working at Nelson 116.
To support social sustainability, the founders built connections to other student organizations, academic departments, and the surrounding Lindsborg community. They also created Nelson 116 to be a warm, inviting atmosphere for gathering and learning.
To be economically sustainable, the shop employs federal work study students and those participating in long-term directed independent studies, senior projects, or similar academic endeavors to reduce labor costs, maintain long-term financial stability, and create a new learning environment.
To be environmentally sustainable, Nelson 116 uses ceramic mugs and compostable to-go cups and select the menu based on conservation and simplicity. The shop continues to work towards increased “greenness” and to educate both the campus and the Lindsborg community on environmental sustainability through this ongoing process.
Whether it’s displaying artwork, performing music, or utilizing the business for management or financial experience, Nelson 116 has much to offer its students, customers, and surrounding community.