Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
It’s hard to miss student-run Paces Cafe’s advertisements all over campus describing sweets like Southern Red Velvet Cake and savories like Pita and Hummus platters. These are just one sign of a wave of changes that have been made at Paces over the course of this semester in an effort to change Paces’ image and invite a wider range of students to a location that offers both a great social space and truly affordable menu of good quality food.
At the forefront of these changes is head manager Liz Upshur ’07, who has been actively working to change the past reputation of Paces and expand their clientele. The space is bright, clean, and comfortable; a casual spot for socializing and enjoying well prepared meals by a staff with a great deal of professional experience.
“We have a fabulous staff,” Upshur observes with pride after mentioning the exhausting amount of advertising and ideas which have been devoted to spreading awareness of the cafÃƒÂ© on campus. Many of the changes made this semester have been staff-oriented, addressing concerns voiced about the efficiency of service and atmosphere.
“We have a big budget and a great staff and we wanted to get people to take advantage of it!” Upshur explains. Part of how Paces has accomplished this is by encouraging regular group “takeovers.” Group takeovers have included SQU and the very popular Enlace takeover, and will include SwatSudan and Amnesty International this week. Other projects on the horizon include bringing board games and activities into Paces as well as more themed nights (thus far, Paces has hosted a Disney Quizzo, Poker Night, and Middle Eastern Night.)
The latest project is the addition of the Paces Takeout Menu. A healthier, more affordable alternative to Pizza or Chinese, Paces Takeout is ready to pick up in ten to fifteen minutes, and includes options like the ever popular nachos, and one dollar desserts, and is available Sunday through Wednesday until midnight.
“I have heard people complain about the fact that they can’t use points here,” Upshur acknowledges. This decision, however, stands (as it does at Qub) as it allows the cafÃƒÂ© to remain student-run, rather than under dining services. This also allows the CafÃƒÂ© to avoid charging prices comparable to items sold at Essie MaeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, keeping the CafÃƒÂ© more affordable.
Paces will remain open until Reading Week, around which time the cafÃƒÂ© will begin looking into hiring next semesterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s staff.