East Quad's Halfway Inn converted into student lounge

Chris Dzombak/Daily
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BY LIBBY ASHTON
For the Daily
Published September 15, 2009

The start of the school year brought more change to East Quad than just a new freshman class and some yellow room keys — yes, some room keys are now yellow.

Are you sad to see 'The Halfass' go?

Choices







The Halfway Inn, which used to be a café, convenience store and lounge in the basement of the residence hall, is now only a lounge.

East Quad’s new wave of residents won’t share prior students’ experiences of waiting for their late-night quesadillas, blasting music and the aroma of “funk” in the East Quad basement at the establishment affectionately referred to as “the Half-ass Inn.”

However, according to University Housing Spokesman Peter Logan, the quesadillas and other food options are the only missing element.

“The Halfway Inn will continue to operate as a center for community events and programs for all of East Quad,” Logan said, adding that “the only change” would be the relocation of the food service component to the South Dining Room on the building’s ground floor.

LSA senior Abbie Stauffer, who is working as an East Quad resident adviser for a second year, said she was initially disappointed to hear that The Halfway Inn would be converted to a basic lounge.

“It was a classic East Quad place,” Stauffer said. “It was funky in the original sense of the word — smelly, nasty funk.”

Stauffer said she can now appreciate the calmness and convenience of the new area. Also, she expects the new service to be more efficient, especially with the operation’s pricing.

“The packaging will be more consistent now,” she said. “(The students) used to charge you the same price" for item sizes.

Along with its inconsistencies, Logan explained that the basement location of the food service was limited in its ability to provide customers with a variety of options. The move upstairs has allowed for an expanded grill menu and healthier menu options.

The expanded menu, which included organic pizza, popcorn, patty melts, specialty coffees, nachos, salads, sandwiches and parfaits, was well received by students when tested during winter term of last year, Logan said.

RC sophomore Ionut Gitan, a member of the East Quad Music Co-op, appreciates the basement’s exclusive function as a lounge because his group can play a couple times a month without encountering any scheduling difficulty, he said.

Despite some students' natural resistance to change, Logan reports that he was seen a generally positive response.

“Students and staff seem positive about the change because Halfway Inn remains a great community space,” Logan said. “Plus, they have a better café operation upstairs that also serves as a place for community activities.”

Stauffer validated Logan’s perception.

“It’s going to be a lot better,” Stauffer said. “(The old place) was called ‘the Half-ass’ for a reason.