Principal of Lady Eaton College (LEC), Michael Eamon and Owner of Black Honey Café on Hunter Street, Lisa Dixon both wanted to give off-residence students a college space where they lived: downtown.
Coming from a college system at Cambridge himself, Eamon has first-hand understanding of what it’s like to be a student in the college University system and how valuable it can be. Dixon remembers how tricky it can be to get into an office when you need information but are balancing all the other aspects of your life and schedule. When they put their heads together they found a way to bring a part of Lady Eaton downtown and give students space to get questions answered or just meet up and have a coffee: Lady Eaton College at Black Honey!
The program, which launched in early September, gives LEC students an exclusive discount card and a designated space to hang out. Cabinet members from the college spend some of their office hours down there, as does the College Principal (Eamon).
Eamon described the program as a move towards better inclusivity for off-residence students. He knows it’s easy for members of the college living downtown to feel a weakening in their campus ties, but hopes the downtown space can kindle some downtown spirit. He also suggests that having a college space downtown that reconnects off-campus students to the college will encourage those students to make the trip to campus when there are events that interest them. He hopes that this space can continue to be a casual place where students will feel comfortable and at home.
Dixon spoke about the beginning of her conversation with Eamon, saying “he knows that we do support making [Black Honey] a comfortable place for students. So, he approached me about the idea, and we just put our heads together and made it what it is.”
Both parties report that the program is off to a good start. Dixon reported that there hadn’t been any other customers that she was aware of who had a problem with part of the café now being a designated LEC space. Eamon spoke with pride about the number of Trent executives who came to check out the space during its opening. He noted that the opening event was calm and casual all night and that’s exactly what he hopes it can always be.
When asked what this could mean in terms of other colleges, Eamon talked about uniqueness in the College System. He notes that already each college has something different to offer students and is its own community within Trent.
He doesn’t know how the other colleges will feel about this partnership or what reaction they will have in terms of their own programming. He does hope that this project helps keep Lady Eaton College strong both on and off campus and can be seen as a way that colleges can be inclusive and unique.