In all institutions of Higher Education there are numerous differences, however, similarities exist as well. This can be seen when examining Willamette University and the University of Mississippi. The background of these institutions is very different, thus, the "college experience" for each student body is very distinct. The past or traditions influence the actions of students at both of the universities.
Even though traditions can result in differences, traces of similarities can also be found. One tradition which is shared by both institutions is the consumption of coffee. Coffee houses located near Willamette University and the University of Mississippi, are like magnets that attract college students. Even though Willamette University is a small, conservative institution, located on the west coast, and the University of Mississippi is a larger more liberal setting, located within the heart land of the United States, students at both institutions flock to coffee houses, both on and off campus, to relax, read, think and socialize.
The Bistro at Willamette is a favorite spot for students. It is located on the Willamette University campus, thus making it a very convenient place for the students to meet. The Bistro serves people who like to enjoy a cup of coffee, as well as something sweet to eat. This little coffee house resembles an antique restaurant. It has many different types of old wooden chairs and couches. The table mats and couch cushions are decorated in a very sixty's fashion, with spermatic coloring and psychedelic designs. On any given day the Bistro is packed with students and faculty all congregating here together. This makes the Bistro a kind of limbo, where Professors and students may freely interact in a more social atmosphere. Students and Professors often meet hear to discuss a plethora of topics; ranging from the taste of the coffee that they are drinking, to political discussions on Newt Gingridge
The Beanery is another coffee house near Willamette University. It is located off campus within the Salem city center. This coffee house is decorated in a very simple way, with all the characteristic coffee house designs. The store itself is very small and situated in-between other shops. The Beanery is usually very crowded; for it not only serves Willamette students, but also the many transients who travel the bus lines between California, Portland and Seattle. These transients are often people from different walks of life who are attempting to succeed in a musical career. This feature makes The Beanery a very diverse setting and allows Willamette students to interact with peers that have elected another route in life besides college. Such interaction is very interesting, and is always done graciously by both parties. The Beanery, is one of the few places in Salem where the students interact with people outside the campus.
The coffee houses that the Willamette University students visit, are in principle very similar to the coffee houses at the University of Mississippi. Following in this college tradition, students at the University of Mississippi also like to indulge in the "atmosphere" of coffee. "Ole Miss" as the students refer to the University of Mississippi, has many "joints" where students may attain their coffee "fix". The Hoka, is known to be a place where someone may sit, and "chill with cinnamon coffee" (Karen Carlisle). This coffee house is more than just the average coffee hut; the Hoka serves as a movie theater, restaurant and cafe`. This conglomeration of hang outs, appears to be a place left around from the sixty's. It plays "movies that you could not find in most places. . .[and]. . .serves vegetarian food" (Misty D. Shores). The main attraction at the Hoka is being able "to relax and visit with your friends" (Misty D. Shores), while having a cup of coffee with a piece of their "famous cheesecake" (Rich Young). The Hoka, although being very old is alive due to the college tradition of having a cup of coffee while relaxing or working.
Another hangout where students of the University of Mississippi like to visit, and relax with some coffee is Square Books. This store not only sells coffee, but is also a very famous book store. Ole Miss students know that Square Books has "had a long history to tell about its inhabitants" (Rich Young). The walls of this emporium are covered with pictures of all the famous people that have visited there. The Ole Miss students carry on the tradition of this store by; visiting, getting a book and then reading with some coffee. At any time "many college students appear on the balcony reading and drinking coffee" (Gretta George). Square Books is another one of those places that appeals to a college student's most basic needs; learning, relaxing and socializing. Without places such as The Hoka and Square Books, writers such as Faulkner and Grisham may not have been so inspired to become writers.
Although very different in almost every aspect, Willamette University and the University of Mississippi have their roots in a very strong tradition of higher education. These universities were founded within two years of each other; Willamette University in 1844 and Ole Miss in 1846. Social traditions that have been passed down since then are grounded into the freshman's soul. These social traditions help make up the overall personality of a university. Coffee seems to be a tradition that students from both of these universities take very seriously. Spanning over two thousand miles, and hundreds of different cultures, Willamette University and Ole Miss students share a similar need for coffee. It seems to me, that coffee is an essential ingredient for learning; just as milk is an essential ingredient in a "cafe"