Connelly’s Coffee creates community

College students are practically fueled by coffee, and going to coffee shops have unsurprisingly become almost a hobby to some. Lucky for Loras students, Dubuque has several locally-owned coffee shops, especially in the downtown area.
Spending time, socializing and doing work there has become a way-of-life for college students looking for a place to go. What some may not know is that the Peace and Justice House, located just across the street from the Academic Resource Center, has started one of their own.

Just Java, located in the basement of the Peace and Justice House, is run by junior Nicole Connelly. Back in August, although she does not remember the specific reason, Connelly decided that she wanted to create this space for people to come and build community. She worked for several weeks in the fall in order to make her basement a place where she could host people. Just Java’s grand opening was on November 14, 2016 and has continued growing ever since.

photo by Nicole Connelly

“We call it our coffee shop, but it’s more than that,” Connelly said. “Just Java is a place of encounter where people get to take time out of their busy week and be present with one another.”
A simple idea she turned into a tradition for others. Every Friday, students of all years stop by for a cup of coffee, a treat and enjoying the company of those around them. To her regulars, it is something they look forward to and even a reason to wake up earlier than normal on a Friday.

“Just Java is a friendly and fun place to go,” sophomore Cole Hansen said. “Everyone treats you like a friend and you can talk to anyone there.”

When Connelly is not busy making coffee and welcoming her guests, she gets to sit back and watch those who come interact and build the community that she has worked so hard to create, which is her favorite part. In fact, that is what inspired one of their tag lines, “Come for the coffee. Stay for the community.”

“Honestly, it’s such a gift to have a specific time during my week to simply host people,” Connelly said. “Connections are made and relationships are formed, even if it’s just for that one day or one cup of tea.”

Just Java is open from 8:15-11:00 a.m. every Friday. Anyone is welcome to attend. They serve coffee, tea, hot chocolate, juice and water, as well as treats that the library donates after their Thursday morning coffee. There is no cost to come, but there is a sticker collection that anyone can contribute to, if they have any to add.

“Just Java is a place of encounter where people get to take time out of their busy week and be present with one another,” Connelly said. “That is the greatest gift of all.”

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