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Rick’s Café: The Tradition Continues

It’s an institution in and of itself. Operated by student volunteers, the nighttime ice cream shop may offer the best deal around: two scoops on cone or in cup for a dollar. For years, Rick’s operated out of a tight but beloved space in Haggett Hall. With the closing of one of the two Haggett Towers and the opening of Madrona Hall, the time was right for a relocation. The new space sits on the corner of what has been termed ‘Town Square,’ the communal area between Madrona and Willow halls. With windows all around, the shop is highly visible and inviting.

A visit just before 5 p.m. finds two volunteers serving ice cream to students who come by in small groups. Keivon, a junior studying geography with a minor in Informatics, got his start last year in the Haggett location. He liked the flexible schedule and soon found himself ‘promoted’ to recruit and schedule other volunteers. In addition to picking up customer service and organizational skills, he also enjoys the social aspect to providing a fun product to residents. This year Keivon serves as coordinator for the entire program. Additional student roles include Leads, Marketing, Outreach, and Social Media. 

The other server this night is Sophie, a first-year student who likes the idea that by volunteering, prices can be kept low. She adds, “I figured it must be pretty fun if people are giving up their time to do this without pay! And I thought it would be a good way to get involved on campus and also gain some work experience.”

Customers can select from eight flavors that rotate from a larger group, including pumpkin spice, peppermint, blood orange sorbet, marionberry, and cookies and creme. Also offered is a cookie sandwich—a double chocolate cookie baked in-store and flanking a scoop of cookie dough ice cream.

The new Rick’s carries on the tradition of the older version. The space may be brighter and roomier, the wall’s paint fresher, but the energy and enthusiasm emanating from the staff is the connector from the previous Rick’s to the latest incarnation. Plus, who can resist two scoops of ice cream for one dollar?