Silversword Café Rises Above Summer Flood


Photos by: Allison Jerome (left), Conrad Timothy (right)

Changes to the old cafeteria’s (left) layout, air conditioning, and lighting have been made to make students feel more comfortable (right).

Chaminade University’s Silversword Café serves food to hundreds of students throughout each week. This summer, however, the facility drowned in a pool of water that reached up to one’s knees.

In a two-week time period that touched both June and July, merciless showers poured upon Oahu, causing island-wide floods. In the midst of the downpour, the Silversword Café felt the brunt of its force as waves of water flowed under its doors, filling the dining room to levels of up to 2 feet tall due to drain blockage by a nearby construction site, according to VP of student affairs Allison Jerome.

With limited exits, large pools of rain cascaded down to the cafeteria, causing damage to a significant portion of the eating area’s bottom half. The school was left with a disaster that needed to be fixed before its orientation for incoming freshmen on Aug. 23. 

“We weren’t sure if we would have the whole dining room [repaired in time], so we had contingency plans in place,” said Silversword Café food service director Dickson Alvarado. “We were planning for the worst as well, so that added an extra dynamic to the whole situation and a certain sense of urgency as well.”

Allison Jerome
The entire floor took two months to be redone after sustaining major damages.

Though the flooding occurred as an abrupt disruption, workers of both Chaminade and the café (both CUH and Aramark, a food service company, operate the café) took the opportunity to experiment with changes to the facility’s usual look with the school’s insurance covering the costs, according to Jerome.

Timothy Dunstan, who is a 20-year-old Psychology major working for the cafeteria as its grill cook of one year, noted the additions and subtractions to the new Silversword Café.

The removal of the cafeteria’s dining booths that rested along the facility’s walls and waiting chairs that stood around the lobby meant less privacy for patrons and no place for commuters to wait for their friends with meal plans, Dunstan said.

Along with the missing set pieces, multiple walls and the entire flooring have been reconstructed to create a more open and modern feel.

The new Silversword Café is still in its early stage, Jerome said. Chaminade plans on making a number of adjustments, like pushing the register toward the middle of the facility as opposed to the entrance, so that people who want a place to hang out can enter without having to pay.

The Silversword Café was able to be remodeled promptly for Chaminade’s 2019-2020 freshman orientation. Further modifications to the facility are expected to take place next summer, Jerome said, as it will give all parties the time necessary to improve the cafeteria’s condition. Until then, all groups involved will be working together to improve the café experience.

“With the relationship between Aramark and Chaminade, it almost doesn’t feel like it’s two companies,” Alvarado said. “It feels more like one whole team.”

The cafeteria is open to hearing comments from both employees and students, as evidenced by the newly built chalkboard wall next to its entrance. There, people can write concerns or suggestions on aspects of the cafeteria, such as diversifying the menu with ethnic dishes or filling the atmosphere with background music, as well as draw sketches as a form of expression.