Drinkable donations at American University

The Davenport Coffee Lounge’s drink of the month program partners with student organizations for coffee fundraisers

The Davenport Coffee Lounge’s drink-of-the-month program, which allows student organizations to partner with the Dav to fundraise, has become a top seller for the coffee shop and student organizations.


Though the Dav opened its doors in 1980, the drink-of-the-month program didn’t begin until the coffee shop was relocated from the East Quad Building to the School of International Service in 2009, according to Julia Ford, the manager of the Dav.


“When it started out, it was just this sort of club where there would be a pot of change and a pot of coffee and you would donate change and grab a cup. It was self-serve,” Ford said.


Since then, the Dav has developed into a nonprofit coffee shop that features a program that fundraises for student organizations with new monthly drinks. Whether it’s a peppermint mocha, hazelnut dirty chai or cinnamon hazelnut latte, the organization hosting the fundraiser each month will earn $1 per drink sold.


Even if a customer customizes a drink or orders an entirely different one, they can elect to donate the dollar to the fundraiser. 


“So, I could order a matcha and tell them I still want to donate to the fundraiser,” said Qudsia Saeed, creative team member and former president of the Muslim Student Association (MSA). 


MSA hosted the October drink-of-the-month in collaboration with Students for Justice in Palestine. The hazelnut dirty chai raised $521 for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, which supports children regardless of their faith.


According to Ford, student organizations can donate their money to a cause or save it for events or other expenses. AU’s subcommittee of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) decided to do this.


LULAC is planning to host a gala at the end of the year and opted to put the money raised from the Latinx Heritage Month drink – the cinnamon hazelnut latte – toward those fees and other expenses that might arise, said Samantha Rodriquez, the community director for LULAC.


Outside the gala, LULAC will use the money for “printing flyers and little things here and there that sometimes the officers have to take out of their own pockets to help out with, which has been a problem in the past,” Rodriquez said.


The funds from the November drink-of-the-month, the peppermint mocha sponsored by EagleTHON, will be donated to Children’s National Hospital.


“It’s a hospital that’s at capacity because of RSV, COVID and the flu and they don’t have enough money right now to even stock their coffee stations with K-cups. And these are nurses that are working 12-hour shifts on their feet every single day,” said Elisabeth Kelly, the external director of EagleTHON.


Not only is the Dav a space for community organizations to fundraise, it’s also a community space for the current 43 federal work-study students.


“I didn’t really find a spot on campus that I felt like I fit until I found the Dav. We’re all federal work-study students, which means that you were getting that aid based off of need,” said Ford, who was a student employee of the Dav until her graduation in 2021. “I think that you have a really special community with a lot of common experiences.”


These students are constantly making drink-of-the-month beverages, especially as the program increases in popularity, said student worker Heather Roselle.


The December drink-of-the-month will support My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence shelter in D.C.


“It’s fun to do specials like that,” Ford said. “And to have them really mean something and have us be able to contribute to our community, I think it’s a really special feeling and it’s something I’m really grateful for.” 


For the entire story, check out AWOL’s Youtube channel.

This article is from AWOL’s 31st print edition.