it depends. Each house does their own thing. The way it has worked in the two houses that I have lived in is that we take turns bringing sustenance to coffee hour. We’ve had everything from nachos to cookies to tic-tacs. One time, fellow intern, Chernoh, made Grape Kool-Aid.
Hey, there really aren’t any rules when it comes to this stuff, so if you want to serve coffee at coffee hour, do it.
Coffee Hour is best explained here on the website. Each house has its own Coffee Hour traditions and vibe, but there are two things that stay the same across campus: There’s food and laughter. Here are two examples of our own houses’ respective Coffee Hours.
First up: Fels, which celebrates the holiday season every year with Felsmas, where we wear ugly Xmas sweaters, exchange Secret Santa gifts, and drink lots of eggnog. You can’t see it clearly, but we have a tree that could rival Charlie Brown’s.
And next is Welling! One of the traditions has been to take a family picture at the end of fall term. And we almost always have one with everyone making a ‘W’ sign to show our house pride.
One highlight from Welling’s Coffee Hour was the creation of our house painting. It was near the end of term when everyone was stressed out because of finals, and the hosts for Coffee Hour brought out canvases and paints for us to go crazy. Brushes were not necessary for this exercise.
- Anushka (proud Felsian) and Alison (classy Welling resident)
I just found this catalog written called “Students on Bennington” that students in the seventies made for admissions. I was amazed to find this titillating piece by The Omnivore’s Dilemma author Michael Pollan of the class of 1977. What a crazy place this was.
George catered Coffee Hour last night, and, in typical fashion, really outdid himself. He served four kinds of cheese, bagels, Wheat-Thins, Triscuits, sardines, funny hors d’ourvres of tomato and cheese welded to saltines, tuna salad with far too many onions, and Almaden California Red Burgundy (an unfortunate staple at Dewey House).
A couple weeks ago we had the first Coffee Hour of term. For those who don’t know, it’s a tradition on Sunday nights for everyone in each house to get together and share food, announcements, issues, and laughs. In my house, Woolley, the theme for coffee hour that week was Rumspringa — the time in the life of an Amish youth when they leave their homes and (from my understanding) go and do pretty much whatever they want, then decide at the end whether or not they want to go back home. In the spirit of breaking free, and because my hair was getting PRETty shaggy, I came with a pair of scissors, and at the end of coffee hour asked everyone to take a snip:
30 people. 30 snips. and I believe we coined a new term in the process: Mull-hawk. Half mohawk, half mullet, all fun.
Briee Della Roca, who takes photos for Bennington’s gorgeous flickr account, came to my house’s coffee hour this past Sunday and took some amazing photos.
Coffee Hour is one of my favorite things about Bennington. It’s a time every Sunday at 10 (or 11, depending on what your house has agreed upon) when everyone in the house gathers in the common room and hangs out, talks, hears campus announcements, and generally has a good time. Usually there is a theme, and two people are signed up to make food and design the theme.
This Sunday’s, in honor of Halloween, was Monsters vs. Animals. The food was homemade pumpkin pies, cider, and sugar cookies shaped like pumpkins. After we ate, talked, and went over house announcements, we split into teams and had a pumpkin carving contest.
-India K, ‘12
Probably one of my favorite aspects of living at Bennington is the house communities, and Coffee Hour is a huge part of that. My house, Bingham, tends to go all out for our coffee hours: we have themes with food, costumes, and contests that all go along with the chosen theme. Some times the competition for who can do the most outlandish coffee hour gets pretty out there.
A couple weeks ago, my friend Evan and I put together a Mad Men coffee hour. Like most of the world, we’re totally obsessed with the show and wanted an excuse to see everyone dressed up all classy and fancy. To prepare, I watched episodes where the men are in meetings and looked at what food they were eating. From my research, I deducted the menu should be: mini sandwiches, shrimp cocktails, and array of fancy cheese and crackers.
We played music from the era and had a contest for who was the classiest (the house voted on their favorites). And the winners were…
Ben and Kathryn! They both got prizes for being super classy and gorgeous. I mean, look at them…
We ended the coffee hour by dancing to The Twist and taking photos done by our “professional” photographers. All in all, a very successful evening. Definitely excited to see what next week’s theme is.
-India K, ‘12
Going through the dusty annals of my flash drive I came across a few old files, one of which turned out to be a recording of a read through of a pilot my friends had written over Field Work Term. It had come into being through a pretty informal situation. One night at coffee hour, as many of my would be adventure novels might start, Jiray and Alex announced their masterpiece of a work in progress. Perhaps the most comprehensive oeuvre of their young lives to date.
It was actually a script that they had been working on over FWT. They were looking for feedback and people with some free time who wouldn’t mind sitting around reading their words out loud, so that they could get a sense of what their dialogue might sound like off the page.
They gave the house a few days to sign up and one Tuesday night in March found us scattered around Alex’s room, computers in lap, ready to go. I won’t attempt to describe the debacle that ensued but amidst laughter and catcalls we made our way through their script.
It was a random kind of house bonding experience that couldn’t be scripted and Jiray and Alex managed to get some semblance of feedback after the closing scene. I’d never been to or participated in a read through before and informal as it was, it was great to see what the early stages of a performance might look like.
For the entire week leading up to their coffee hour, my friends Madison and Victoria were being very secretive. This kind of behaviour, of course, only served to egg on members of Booth house who tried every trick in the book from reverse psychology to full on scare tactics to find out more. The ladies were not swayed.