The early bird gets the worm. Or, in this case, a few new breakfast options and some space to rest.
This year, in an attempt to consolidate and better meet student needs for food, convenience and space, the Brooks Convenience Store, once located in upper Brooks, has been combined with the Husky Hideaway, in lower Brooks, to offer varied food options as well as convenience store items in a single location, while at the same time clearing space for other student groups.
“There was some overlap, some similar products that were able to be moved down [to the Hideaway],” said Jason Saucier, director of Gorham Student Life. Saucier, along with the Aramark dining program, saw the consolidation as an opportunity to create a social hub students.
“Part of the idea was to try and identify space for student leadership on the Gorham campus,” said Saucier. “We don’t have as much in our student center as the Woodbury Campus Center has.” Still, it was important to meet, or even exceed, the same levels of service.
Delaney Kenny, Chair of the Gorham Event’s Board, confirms that upper Brooks will be a student organization space managed by the Gorham Student Life.
“The idea was ‘Well, if we consolidate to two operations, the Hideaway and the [Brooks] dining center, we could open the whole place for student leadership, and we could still be able to provide the same level of services,” Saucier said.
For that reason, the Hideaway increased hours, stock and began to offer students what had been unreachable in the past.
“The Hideaway used to not open until noon, and the C Store used to not open until noon but now what we’ve done is the Hideaway opens at 7 a.m., so that allows students to just go through and grab a cup of coffee, or a breakfast sandwich, and hit the road,” said Saucier. “If they’re heading for the bus stop they can do that, and not have to actually go down to a sit-down breakfast.” Earlier hours, he hopes, will expand usage.
One student, sophomore Sebastian Taylor, praised the new student commons, remarking that there always seems to be an abundance of students enjoying the space over the weekend.
“It seems like a good hang out spot on campus,” he said.
The presence of students at the Husky Hideaway, according to Saucier, is a sign of the project’s success, but he admitted, there’s room for improvement.
“I’m really encouraging student groups that call Gorham home, to get in contact with me,” said Saucier. “It’s a work in progress, but we would love to get their input on how we can create the space to be very usable and helpful to our student offices and organizations on the Gorham campus.”
Dan Welter, coordinator of student activities for Gorham Student Life, agrees that the Hideaway consolidation is just another step toward an overall improvement of the commons.
“In my time at USM, we have seen it [lower Brooks Student Center] elevate from a tile oasis with old tables that didn’t match, to what it is today with beautiful huskies on the wall and a constant buzz around,” said Welter. “I think that things will certainly continue to get better and better!”