College students across the country find their second home in coffee shops. The combination of hot coffee, mellow music and a relaxed atmosphere seems to soothe stressed students and inspire productivity.
But at Missouri Baptist University, this coffeehouse concept is the inspiration behind a Homecoming event students have looked forward to each year since its inception in 1996.
the Perk (the event) is a coffeehouse concert, serving up desserts, bottomless coffee and musical acts from students alumni, and employees.
“We held the first Perk in the Pillsbury-Huff residence hall,” said Krista Huse, founder of the event and current administrative assistant to the vice president for student development. “My husband Paul and I started it because we had been the resident directors there for a year and we wanted to create some traditions for the students, something that would help build community and keep people here for the weekends.”
Huse, a self-confessed coffee enthusiast, wanted something spectacular and different to make the Perk (the event)’s first year memorable.
“Paul got Sixpence None The Richer to come as a surprise for the students,” Huse said. “They were extremely popular at the time – it was 1996 – and had their hit ‘Kiss Me’ out. We tried to start the tradition with a big bang so students would continue to come every year.”
Huse said the event was a success, and as the years passed it was moved to gradually larger venues to accommodate growing audiences.
“At first it was just a Resident Life event, but after we started having three to four hundred people attend, we began needing other departments’ help,” Huse said.
After the event outgrew Pillsbury-Huff, it was moved to the Quad under a tent, then the basement of the Field Building, then the Dining Hall.
“Now, the only space big enough to accommodate for the size of the crowd is the Muncy Gymnasium,” Huse said.
Huse continued to recruit well-known musicians to perform at the Perk (the event) from Bebo Norman to a famous jazz saxophonist.
“After awhile, the Perk (the event) became such a tradition, people would even propose to each other on stage during it,” Huse said.
Huse is glad to see students and alumni enjoying the coffeehouse event year after year.
“We had no idea it would get this big,” Huse said. “It really took off and became so much more than we expected.”