Residential Life

From Coffee Passion to Community Creation


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Demonstrating coffee brewing during Coffee IG’s first session at PGP House, September 2019.

24 February 2021

"Coffee is a catalyst for community bonding" and that was my vision when I started the first Coffee Interest Group (IG) in Prince George’s Park (PGP) House in September 2019. It brought coffee lovers together.  

Brewing coffee has always been one of my passions ever since I plunged into the coffee community back in my hometown Bandung, Indonesia where the coffee culture plays a big part of daily life. By conversing with baristas from numerous coffee shops in Bandung, it sparked my interest of exploring different coffee brewing methods and how it creates unique flavours and experiences. More importantly, I realised that a short chit-chat over a cup of coffee can easily forge new friendships. 

Upon arriving at my current student hall, PGP House in August 2018, I was expecting a vibrant student life. However, it turned out that it was not the case. Being a newfound hall, we were missing a strong sense of belonging as residents. Being an international student, it was not the university life that I imagined and  I decided to change the lonely environment and take the initiative to create a warm community that I wanted to be part of. Of course, coffee was the first thing that I wanted to bring forth.

To start out, I reached out to Dr. Park, one of the resident fellows of PGP House. She instantly loved the idea and helped me to explore the possibilities of bringing it into life. After two months of busy preparation, the Coffee IG was formed and we kicked off our first session on 4 September 2019 with 15 participants.

The Coffee IG started small, with only three people in the committee. Soon the size of the coffee lover community increased to over 200 as participants were inviting their friends to join our Telegram channel. To bring me closer to my dream of a closer-knit community, we have broadened the IG to serve the wider community of PGP House. We operate once every two weeks by offering over 50 cups of free hot delicious coffee per session and thus creating a space for friendship and giving patrons a boost to start their day. 

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Biweekly night sharing session, PGP House, November 2019.

Over the course of 10 months, the Coffee IG has become an important foundation of community bonding in PGP House. The chit-chat over coffee became a friendly space where people can strike up a conversation be it about schoolwork, coming exam or even personal conversations where some can receive a listening year or seek advice. 

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Free coffee sharing with Lingga and Jessica (main committee), PGP House, Jan 2020.

Today, PGP House community has grown to be a stronger family. As an international student, it finally feels like a home far from home. I am grateful to have taken the step in realising my dream. So, for those who want to see a change in their community, know that you are the one who can make it happen! Take the first step and see where it takes you.

Contributor

Andrew Wijaya, Leader of PGP House Coffee IG
Year 3, Faculty of Engineering