Students lounge on couches doing homework and occasionally come in to take pictures on the “Cosmo Bench” in an industrial-themed room. Illustrations cover a chalkboard wall, and a fireplace glows as students sit at the stone-cold-sober bar and talk to the staff.
The Wall, located in Room 1151 of the Wilkinson Student Center, is a new hangout where students can attend events such as a concert or just relax. It comes complete with a non-alcoholic bar, a stage, entertainment area, fireplace and even a chalk wall decorated by illustration students, according to Sterling May, general manager of The Wall.
Katie Burdick, a senior and media arts major from Eagle Mountain, Idaho, said the space itself isn’t that big, but they wanted students to have access to it.
“Even though it’s a physically closed space, we want it to be open to students,” she said.
The Wall will have its grand opening on Feb. 15, but has been open to students since Jan. 15. About 700 people attended the preview night on Jan. 11, though only around 200 were expected to come, according to The Wall’s Facebook page.
May said the idea for The Wall arose about two or three years ago when students voiced that they wanted a place to hang out, relax, eat, meet up with friends and showcase their creativity in an informal environment.
“If you feel like you’ve hit a wall, come to The Wall,” May said.
The name “The Wall” came from students who feel like they’ve hit a wall from too much studying and schoolwork.
“A lot of students think they’re not allowed to come if they aren’t attending an event, but students should come even if they are just doing homework,” Burdick said.
Among the events it has hosted are multiple concerts for local bands, karaoke night and a 50s-themed night where students received swing dance instruction.
“I would love to get bands to perform during the day and for it to become a launch pad for new performers,” May said.
The Wall is meant to be a student’s space, and May would love for students to plan their own activities and for music majors to come and perform. The Wall is run mainly by students. There are about 25 student employees who not only make the food but help plan events, according to May.
“It’s not meant to be a Marriott Center, it’s supposed to feel informal,” he said.
The Wall also offers finger food items such as waffles, wings, fries and a sober bar with Italian sodas with names like “Dream Machine” and “Off the Wall.”
Ashley McPherson, the restaurant supervisor, said the bar is different from a restaurant because the staff converse with customers.
“We wanted it to be interactive; our staff is talking to you most of the time,” McPherson said. “I would like it to be a place people come to have good food, good drinks and fun entertainment in a good environment.”