Joel Hoover

Messiah’s Student Senate approved the closing of South Side Café Thursday evening after a 42-to-1 vote in favor of the recommendation.

South Side will remain in operation through the end of the school year under provisional governance, thought it will have to be cleaned out and closed prior to May 16. According to Residence Life and Operations, the game room and lounge area of the Café will remain open next year.

“I’m sad to see the Café go, but I’m excited to see what’s in store for the future,” said Joy Endicott, the current Café manager. “Many new business options and opportunities lie ahead, and I want to see what’s best for our campus.”

The Student Government Association had first opened the discussion on the strategic plan for South Side two weeks ago, as Student Body President Tim Sensenig presented several different options for South Side’s future. The Café is a subsidiary of the Student Government Association, and is reviewed every two years to determine if it should be continued.

“The recommendation to close the Café was the result of several months of prayerful discernment, collaborative leadership and strategic planning on the part of the Student Body President’s Cabinet, the SGA Leadership Council, Enactus and Café management,” Sensenig said in an official release.

SGA, along with the members of the Leadership Council, gave their recommendation by citing past financial instability and limitations in operation of the Café. Around $30,000 in Student Activities Fees has been used on South Side in the past six years, resulting in very little return on investment.

An incurred debt of $15,000 by the Café in 2009 caused the Student Forum—which is now Senate—to vote on a shared governance and operation of the Café between SGA and SIFE—which is now Enactus. SGA also has restored $2,000 every semester since 2009 to avoid the debt levels of that year.

Financial success has been unpredictable in recent years for South Side, as it has fluctuated between making a profit in some years and costing SGA thousands of dollars other years. Inability to take Dining Dollars and pre-packaged food items have been among the other shortcomings experienced by the Café.

South Side Café was first founded in 2008 to give experience to business students and create revenue for scholarships. Turkey Hill Dairy also provided initial product and funding for the scholarships, though these have had minimal impact for students receiving them.

SGA and Enactus are hoping to have a closing party for the Café and its employees, and have encouraged students to stay tuned for future details.

A task force of Café, Enactus, and SGA leaders will be considering new business models for the café space in the next two months, and will present a final recommendation to Student Senate this May.

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