‘Meet You at The Bru’
By Mike Peters (BA-68)
Comparing the first student center with today’s, it wasn’t much.
Tucked in an annex of Gray Hall, Bru-Inn became the social center of campus. You could meet there for a cup of sludge coffee, soda or even a meal, if you had enough money to pay for a burger or hot dog — and could find a place to sit among the wooden booths along the walls and tables through the center.
“Meet you at The Bru” were the code words of the day.
We’d spend hours at the tables in a never-ending card game of Hearts. Sometimes, if we had a major inconvenience like a class, we would leave, then return and pick up like we’d never left.
One night my roommate made off with a duffle bag of eating utensils to stock our basement apartment (Ivan: I’m sure the statute of limitations has run out by now.) With The Mirror offices at the back of the building, we’d also sneak into Bru-Inn late at night to smuggle a cup of coffee to help keep us going as we put the newspaper to bed.
If you visit the “new” student union on the hill (it’s been there almost 50 years) you find a lot of things are different. Oh, the building is huge and modern and beautiful inside, with much more seating for students. There is a Starbucks, so the appeal of sludge coffee is gone.
The students aren’t sitting around playing Hearts. They’re on their laptops or their iPads or their cellphones, probably doing more important things.
And — this will shock my old roommate — they serve the food with plastic ware.
But on the old campus, the name Bru-Inn remains on the outside door, and the memories can still be found.
It was where my girlfriend, Linda, and I had our first date.
We’ve been married 46 years now.
Maybe that’s why The Bru meant so much to us.
– Mike Peters (BA-68) is a retired journalist.
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