Scripps’ Motley Coffeehouse hosts red carpet return to student events

Students socialize near the Motley Coffeehouse.
5C students enjoy the opening night of Motley Coffeehouse with live entertainment and specialty drinks. (HuxleyAnn Huefner • The Student Life)

Scripps College’s adored Motley Coffeehouse welcomed Claremont Colleges students back with a red carpet for its Mot-Gala-themed opening night celebration on Thursday.

“I thought the theme was really sweet,” Motley barista Mia Fenyak SC ’25 said. “There’s not a lot of chances to dress up and go hang out with friends like this, so I thought that was awesome.”

A Motley tradition, the opening night featured specialty drinks, live music and goods from student vendors. Students lined up for featured drinks including the Nicki Minatcha, a matcha latte with marshmallow syrup; the ‘Timotea Chalamet,’ an iced green tea beverage; the Kanye Aka Yeezus, a caramel and mocha latte; and a Cheri-cano, an iced americano. 

Students were happy to be back at the Motley after its summer closure, flocking to the event in gowns, jeans, suits and sneakers, inspired by the Met Gala. 

“Honestly, just being back at the Motley is great. I missed it dearly,” Soha Bapat SC ’25 said. “I liked seeing everyone’s outfits. It’s interesting how everyone kind of took the theme in their own way.”

This reopening showcased Monday Evening, a live student band that was welcomed by an excited crowd.

“It’s a significant gig,” Monday Evening’s drummer Jeremy Martin PO ’25 said. “I like when we get to play for events that are for the whole community … to sort of be there and be a part of the 5C community.”

The opening night was delayed by half an hour due to a fire alarm being set off, according to Motley Community Engagement Manager Nayla Dayal SC ’25. Despite the setback, the Motley opening continued as planned once the fire alarms’ rings ceased. 

“​​We started off with a little bit of a fire alarm situation — Malott set off some toast,” Dayal said. “It’s been a really fun experience getting [the reopening] together … The Motley team has been working really hard to reopen, and they’re an incredible team.”

The student-run coffeehouse in Scripps’ Seal Court showcases sustainably-sourced coffee, tea, pastries and other snacks. A 5C favorite, the coffeehouse has been a space students such as Hannah Downing SC ‘23 frequently use for spending time with friends and studying. 

“I miss this place,” Downing said. “It’s a special place.”

“It’s cultivated its own culture of social consciousness and inclusive community, and it’s one of my favorite spots on campus.”

Hannah Downing SC '23

The Motley networking manager Avalon Brice SC ’24 described the coffee shop as “the heart of Scripps, especially for students.” To Brice, the Motley “is such a diverse and inclusive space.”

Historically, the space has been used for cultural and political events, such as the Motley Valentine’s Day Drag Show and the Taskforce for Immigration and Refugee Rights event back in spring 2020.

However, the space has not yet returned to its former self, lacking its staple student events and lively convivial Motley atmosphere as the pandemic put most events on pause. Brice is hopeful that the return to events will bring students together after its long-time closure due to the pandemic.

“It’s going to be a space to rebuild a community that was almost lost over the past few years,” Brice said.

The Motley Coffeehouse’s last opening night celebration took place on April 8, 2022. Prior to that opening, the Motley Coffeehouse had been closed since Fall 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.

“It’s just the most magical place and I truly love it, so it feels really good to see the community come together for the first time, at least at the Motley, since COVID,” Fenyak said.

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