A gathering place
The former Java Joint will now become a haven for Beloit College’s Black students.
The new space, located in Pearsons Hall, is named for Grace Ousley, the first Black woman to graduate from Beloit College. Grace’s Place will open this semester.
The idea to convert the former coffee shop into a gathering for Black students came out of the College’s anti-racism goals, through the work of Ayrssa Harris’21, former Black Students United president, and BSU executive board member.
The process to change the space began last summer. Cecil Youngblood, dean of students, said when the Human Resources Office moved to Pearsons Hall freed up room to convert the former office space into BSU housing. That move eventually gave way to the idea that Black students needed a larger gathering space.
Jada Daniel’23, BSU president, says she’s excited about the space.
“We hope to create a safe space for Black and Brown students, where we have a comfortable place to study,” says Daniel.
Daniel said BSU plans to host Soul Food Sundays, poetry readings, and other events during the year, following COVID safety guidelines.