View of an Acronym pop-up from above.

View of an Acronym pop-up from above.

The Acronym

Keywords: User Experience Design, Cultural Experiment

The Acronym is a pop-up coffeeshop I founded at Olin College of Engineering. The idea came about during a discussion at the Olin Workshop on the Library in early spring 2015. The group was looking for a way to foster culture on campus, and we found that a coffeeshop environment would allow us to encourage casual community-wide conversation and collaboration. Two of my peers, Aaron Greiner and Mikhaëla Dietch, and I took on the challenge of designing and launching the project, and with the support of the Library, we held our first Acronym opening in March 2015. At each opening, we transformed a mostly unused space on Olin's campus, the entryway in our main building, into our own coffeeshop by bringing out furniture from the Library and playing some mellow tunes. Acronym baristas served pour-over coffee and loose-leaf tea (to create an intentionally slow experience), as well as baked goods donated by members of the community, all free of charge. Acronym openings often played host to discussions and small events organized by other groups on Olin's campus.

The Acronym recieved funding from Olin's Clubs and Committees Organization. Our pool of baristas expanded from our original three to some twelve individuals, and we've even had a few of our faculty members guest barista for us!


Founding barista
Olin College of Engineering
March 2015 - December 2016


Focusing on community

The Acronym was staffed by students (and the occasional faculty member!), and our offerings were sourced by students, faculty, and staff.


Slowing down

We served intentionally slow beverages to leave space for conversation between community members.


Repurposing resources

The Acronym gave an underutilized space on campus new purpose. We drew upon the coffee and tea expertise of community members to build our menu and practices, and the pottery skills of Professor Mark Somerville to supply to pop-up with ceramic mugs.