The Roots Cafe at the Food Co-op is teaming up with OPEN, a student-founded organization that orchestrates open-mic events, for a night of vegan food and student performances on Friday, March 16.
Sharon Elkouby, the general manager of the Food Co-op and a junior majoring in sociology, said the open-mic night is part of a series of events that the Food Co-op holds each year.
“[The event on] Friday night will really be a way to bring people together in a collective and inclusive way,” Elkouby said. “[Roots] is a smaller space, so our events feel very intimate.”
Hannah Burke, a junior double-majoring in English and environmental studies, is the marketing and social media director for Students for Ethical Living and Food (SELF), a club affiliated with the Food Co-op. Burke said that the co-op works to create a fun and welcoming space for all students.
“We’re trying to be more of an inclusive space for people,” Burke said. “People can come eat and do homework [at Roots], but they can also be a part of SELF.”
Other events hosted at Roots Cafe and organized by SELF have included yoga nights, movie nights and a Q-and-A with Eric Lindstrom, the author of “The Skeptical Vegan: My Journey from Notorious Meat Eater to Tofu-Munching Vegan — A Survival Guide.”
“Our events are always a great way to showcase the diversity of people involved in the Food Co-op and show [the Co-op] in a social light,” Elkouby said. “It’s exciting to bring together so many different perspectives.”
Burke said she is passionate about the Food Co-op’s united mission of providing students with healthy and freshly cooked food alternatives to those offered on campus.
“We have no affiliation with Sodexo, so we’re moving away from a corporation which runs this school’s food systems by providing a space on campus where people can eat food that they feel good about and is ethically sourced,” Burke said.
Burke said that the exposure from this first collaboration with OPEN will help promote the missions of the Food Co-op going forward.
Godfrey Fenton, founding member and president of OPEN and a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, said that he is excited to collaborate with the Food Co-op.
“This is a pretty interesting time for our organization,” Fenton said, adding that the organization is still in its early phases.
Fenton said that the majority of OPEN’s shows consist of an hour of open mic followed by a two-hour art show.
“Our art shows usually follow a theme and vary from visual art to music performances,” Fenton said.
In the past, OPEN has showcased students performing poetry readings, stand-up comedy, swordsmanship, circus arts (such as juggling and hoop tricks) and aikido, which is a type of martial art, as well as music acts like bands and solo rappers.
“This is what I have done my whole life — I draw, I dance, I write,” Fenton said. “I love art, and giving people the opportunity to share their art is the best.”
The Food Co-op open-mic event is free to attend and will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 16 in the Roots Cafe University Union Room B30.