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SGA on Mary Jane’s

Brittany Henderson

Mary Jane’s Café sits vacant on the basement level of Brookens Library.


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Mary Jane’s Café was first built to provide a bookstore, coffee shop vibe for students. Now, numerous students wonder what will happen to the seemingly abandoned space and if it will ever reopen.

Listed as a student concern in the SGA’s ‘99 Problems’ campaign the space was brought to the attention of Tim Barnett, vice chancellor of student affairs. In response, he says the café is the library’s responsibility.

During its life span, the library hired a contractor to operate the coffee shop. After a few years, the operator of Mary Jane’s decided to close when sales began to decline. It was during this time that UIS Food Service took over operations for roughly three semesters. The university lost over $30,000 and only averaged 37 customers a day, compared to the 100 a day at Capitol Perks in the PAC.

Barnett says, “While we received a petition with a number of signatures to remain open, we couldn’t justify it financially. If all the individuals who had signed the petition had come to Mary Jane’s and purchased something 4 to 5 days a week we probably would not have operated at a loss.”

The library responded to thoughts of reopening the café. Jane Treadwell, university librarian and dean, said that she and the library desire to reopen Mary Jane’s and that she welcomes suggestions for the space from both SGA and the UIS community.

In other news, Justin Ketterman, SGA online student senator proposed a UIS community garden in which students would be able to plant and harvest fresh produce on campus. It would benefit current and future students. The SGA offered their opinions as well as questions on feasibility, who would take care of the garden and where on campus the garden would be. These questions will be answered at the next SGA meeting.

Emily Cross, president of Students Allied for a Greener Earth (S.A.G.E.), proposed a green fund, in which the student body could pay an optional fee to fund sustainability projects on and for campus. The fee is negotiable and still being determined, but as of now is $5 a semester.

The idea of a green fund has been offered at UIUC and has been used “to foster actionable, interdisciplinary research to address fundamental challenges in sustainability, energy and environment.”

Cross explained that students have a desire for sustainability. S.A.G.E. believes that this will lead to a better student experience. The fund allocation committee for this initiative will be student led and run through student initiatives.

Proposed resolution items will be voted on at the next SGA meeting.

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