Graduate hotel gifts UI $50k for late-night student programming

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) — The University of Iowa has worked for a decade to shed its reputation associated with alcohol and binge drinking and now it’ll have more help from a new hotel in downtown Iowa City.

Since 2010, the university has added to its late-night activity options for students where alcohol isn’t involved.

The university now has an additional $50,000 to help create and promote those activities, thanks to the Graduate.

Thousands of pencils decorate the walls of Graduate’s coffee shop

Graduate is a newly opened hotel where the Sheraton was located in downtown Iowa City. It’s giving the university that $50,000 plus allowing students to use its building.

Inside the Graduate’s public coffee shop, Poindexter, students be found studying at any given hour.

To take one step inside the coffee shop, you can smell the creativity brewing because of the thousands of pencils that decorate the walls.

“There are approximately 135,000 pencils on the wall,” Graduate General Manager Jose Machuca said. “There’s a rumor there’s a pen on there somewhere.”

It’s parts of the hotel like Poindexter that Machuca hopes UI students can utilize not only during the day.

“We want to be partners in creating different types of activities in which the students can benefit from and at the same time they can utilize our wonderful building,” Machuca said.

He said with the money given to the university, can be used to host late night activities at the hotel that doesn’t include alcohol.

“There’s not a lot after hours to do besides going out and having a good time but something they can continue to develop is their creativity,” he said. “[They can] continue to learn, in a fun way. I think that’s what this whole partnership is going to be all about.”

The director of the Iowa City Downtown District, Nancy Bird, said it has also been in the non-profit’s focus to add more opportunities in the evening hours that isn’t centered around alcohol.

“All of us want to see a well-balanced nightlife and this is part of it,” Bird said. “We want our students to succeed while also having a good time and making sure its done in a healthy way.”

Bird said the Downtown District looks forward to helping Graduate and the UI in promoting the activities.

What the activities will look like is still to be determined. Some of the ideas floated by Machuca was a poetry, open mic or comedy night.

In the last seven years, the university said student government organizations have contributed $75,000 a year for late-night options. The UI has also committed $125,000 every year for it too.

The graduate and the university teaming up is the first external source of funding it has received for its evening entertainment.

Jalyn Souchek

Jalyn Souchek

Reporter
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