Coffee Hour

Every Thursday 8 PM - 9 PM @ Hulsizer Room (NW35-1121)

*Please bring your own plates/utensils*

Coffee Hour is Ashdown’s weekly social hour during which snacks and refreshments are provided so that Ashdown residents can take a break from the monotony of graduate life, interact with fellow residents, and in some cases, finally get some dinner after a long day at the lab. Held on Thursdays from 8 PM to 9 PM, Coffee Hour is run by Ashdown’s Coffee Hour Committee with financial support from the Ashdown Heads of House.

Coffee Hour is open to the entire MIT community, not only Ashdown House residents. The event always welcomes volunteers – anyone interested can contact and/or stop by the Hulsizer Room (NW35-1121) at 7:25 PM on Thursday evenings. Come by to meet and make friends while serving your community!

Coffee Hour History

In 1933, Dr. Avery Ashdown started Buttery Hour – a bi-weekly gathering held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during which cocoa, coffee, and cake were enjoyed by Ashdown residents and the entire graduate community. The event was successful but lost momentum over time. In 1974, the then Ashdown Heads of House Robert and Carol Hulsizer revived the social event as Coffee Hour. Every Thursday at 9 PM, Bob and Carol would provide coffee, tea, and juice along with pastries, cookies, cakes, and sometimes ice cream, to hungry graduate students. Eventually, they persuaded the MIT Administration to build a serving counter in W1’s Dining Room and often volunteered to help serve, at times, over 350 students from 9 PM-11 PM. Coffee Hour soon became not only a signature Ashdown tradition but also, given Ashdown’s historical status as the center of graduate life at MIT, an important weekly event for the entire graduate community to gather and take a break from research. In fact, various other “Coffee Hours” around campus (including the Sidney-Pacific Coffee Hour and the Graduate Student Council’s Coffee Hour) trace their inspiration to that of Ashdown’s.

When the Hulsizers retired in 1985, as a small gesture for their tremendous work at Ashdown in establishing Coffee Hour, they were gifted a gold encrusted ice cream scoop that they had used to help serve ice cream (sometimes about 18 gallons worth!) during certain “Ice Cream Coffee Hours.” Ashdown’s main multi-purpose room is named in their honor and is still the location of Coffee Hour today.

Presently, the event is run by the Coffee Hour Committee, made up of Ashdown House resident graduate students. Committee members prepare and serve small snacks, including meats and cheeses, fresh fruit, salad, and ice cream. They also provide various drinks such as juice, tea, coffee, and, during the winter months, hot chocolate and cider. Occasionally, there are special (and themed) Coffee Hours, like the Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest, Jigsaw Puzzle Night, and Winter Holiday Celebration, as well as some new traditions such as Tie-Dye Night, S’mores Night, and Smoothie Night.