Cups of Kindness

Denison Chaplain Phoebe Myhrum brings a spark to Wednesday mornings

It can be hard to make it through each week. With the seemingly endless amount of homework, classes, and extracurricular activities that fill the schedules of Denison students, sometimes it’s nice to celebrate the small victories. Like getting to the middle of the week. Denison Chaplain, Phoebe Myhrum, is attempting to do just that.

Swasey Coffee Hour came to fruition from an idea that Myhrum had while sitting on the steps of Swasey Chapel. She noticed the heavy flow of students, heading from East Quad to their classes, and the beautiful view from Swasey in the morning. And, because Swasey is not typically used for events during the day, Myhrum felt that this was the perfect place to set up shop each Wednesday morning.

Swasey Coffee Hour is not treated as a typical Denison program. It is not heavily advertised and as Myhrum says, “There is no aim to it. Swasey Coffee Hour is a time for me to be present with Denison students and connected to student life.”

“It is a time to be kind to one another. I have found that a simple ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ means so much to people and is appreciated.”

Myhrum emphasized that Swasey Coffee Hour is in fact, not really about the coffee at all. Rather, “It is a time to be kind to one another. I have found that a simple ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ means so much to people and is appreciated.” And that is the biggest impact of Coffee Hour, spreading kindness and gratitude across campus.
Swasey Coffee Hour has seamlessly become a Wednesday morning staple for many students. “I wish that I filmed people’s reactions. They love it!” says Myhrum. She explained that she was surprised at how well it has been received and the reactions to Coffee Hour has made the small act of kindness worthwhile.

“Swasey Coffee Hour hinges on the idea of kind energy being passed out,” says Myhrum. What Myhrum happens to be passing out, in this case coffee and sometimes donuts, is not what makes Coffee Hour worthwhile. Rather, it is the connections that Myhrum herself has made with students and staff of the college that has made a direct impact.

While Denison Religious and Spiritual Life is responsible for Swasey Coffee Hour, Myhrum wanted students to know, “As Chaplain, I am here to support every student and affirm their ways of making meaning on campus.” Myhrum explains that one of the reasons why she enjoys her job so much is due to the fact that she gets to discover new ways that students are making meaning on this campus, every day.

Myhrum says that while there is a misconception regarding Religious and Spiritual Life and The Open House that it is only a place for religious people, Myhrum would like to make it known that Religious and Spiritual Life values community and healthy ways of interacting with one another. The Open House offers many programs that are readily available to students such as meditation sessions, yoga, Jewish and Passover services, and Catholic services. Overall, Denison Religious and Spiritual Life is looking to build a community and is looking to make The Open House a place that feels like home.

Myhrum hopes to expand Swasey Coffee Hour to other parts of the campus in the near future, but, for now, is passing out kindness, one cup of coffee at a time.

March 23, 2017