The lights are set low, the fire burning hot, the people generally quite. The atmosphere of the Fireside cafe lounge in the Memorial Student Center. MSC impacts me in a relaxing way. The architecture and layout of the room absorbs me. The front of the room draws my attention with its lit up stage and piano laying still. I don’t think much of it I just get in the zone of studying. As an outsider of this rooms community I was not aware of the exciting event that happens on Thursdays.
On this Thursday night my friend had invited me to study with her upstairs. Soon we found out that it was Open Mic Night. The performers were impressive. The acts ranged from piano players who also sang, accordian players, free verse poets, and rappers. I was very impressed with the acts. The insiders here knew some of the performers, I could here people calling out names like they knew them. The crowd was very supportive with their clapping and cheering. As an outsider looking in I liked the atmosphere I saw and wanted to come to the MSC more often.
“As the heart of the UW-Stout campus, the MSC provides welcoming gathering spaces for the campus community, features high energy, bright colors and cozy comfortable atmospheres. (UW-Stout “Memorial student center” n.pag.).” The MSC underwent a $19 million renovation and reopened in January 2012. “An absolute stunning transformation,” says the board of regents. It now includes 10,000 square feet of lounge space, with vast windows, great dining options, performance space and an Involvement Center showcasing student involvement on campus
On a casual day here some people sit alone while others sit with friends. The lounge is a diverse area for what you can do in here. As I sit and observe the discourse community I notice a lot of similarities with what people do in here. Almost every person in this room has their lab top out. Some intensely use their lab top while listening to what ever plays out of their headphones. Others chat among their friends. The people range from students of any age along with teachers.
Not every day here is a casual day here. There are fun events at the MSC often. All of the events are held in the upstairs area. They have had concerts here, comedians, guest speakers, company representatives for majors, and fun events like open mic night. The Blue Devils Productions (BDP) crew is in charge of putting on these awesome events and do a really good job.
The BDP hosts concerts with well-known bands such as We The Kings. They are known nationwide and we had them right in our MSC. They had great deals for tickets. I got my ticket for $10. This concert was hosted in the MSC Great Hall. The room was packed and filled with excitement. I attended this event with a couple friends. When I got there though I was surrounded by people I knew. This was another step to becoming an insider of this community.
The first time I ate at the fireside grill I scoped out all of the options first. The options are immense here. The choices range from the GridIron Grill (breakfast and lunch sandwiches), Poblano’s, Innovations (pasta and Asian cuisine), Comfort Zone (Stouts favorite food), and the Heritage Deli. Some of these titles are literacies outsiders of this discourse community may not understand until they explore the food under the titles. As an outsider of this community I had to explore all of the options here before I made my decision to get chicken and shrimp Alfredo noodles at the Innovations option.
The more I come to the Fireside Café, I become more comfortable here. I start to learn the menu, know the people, and be a known face around. There are many ways to advance in this discourse community and be an insider. I could perform at open mic night, then I would be very well known around this community. I could bring already known friends here and study with them or make new friends here. Outsiders can learn the building, the community and the events that go on. An outsider could also get a job inside the MSC. There are many ways to become an insider and it is up to the individual if they want to become an insider or outsider because the MSC is open to everyone.