A student club with a shot of expression

Members of GCU’s Coffee Club celebrate during an outing at downtown Glendale's The Black Sheep coffee shop, which has deep ties to GCU. Its owner, Lynnette Fredrick, is an alumna.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series on student social clubs.

Senior government major Linken Witner says he sometimes works more than full time at an off-campus job in a group home for people with disabilities.

He grabbed two hours of sleep on a recent Saturday morning before standing in line at a downtown Glendale coffee shop, The Black Sheep, where he was relentlessly upbeat as a lover of coffee and, as president of Grand Canyon University’s new Coffee Club, what it can do.

It brings people together. Witner provided an apt analogy to explain.

“Its like getting to know a mechanic. He can talk if he has a wrench in his hand,” he said.

Coffee Club president Linken Witner, a senior, enjoys the recent club outing at The Black Sheep.

Presto, the barista gave him an extra shot of espresso in his drink; he’s a loyal customer.

“I’m here like four days a week. It’s such a good culture, and they are a specialty shop close to campus,” he said.

The first of five field trips for the Coffee Club is a way for students to get out into the community and break out of their major silos to socialize, he said.

And it’s an example of the growing number of social clubs this year among the 115 student clubs created by GCU students.

Adam Maynes is the faculty advisor to the Coffee Club and a bit of a coffee buff.

The place on west Glendale Avenue was packed, but Adam Maynes, the club’s faculty advisor, had secured a spot at the counter, where some customers can sit like they’re at a small-town main street café.

This field trip location was no accident. Maynes, a government instructor, comes here often, too.

At first, he didn’t realize the deep connections to GCU, although it’s only 4 miles to the northwest of campus.

Owner Lynnette Fredrick is a 2016 GCU graduate who employs mostly GCU grads and students and gives Lopes a 15% discount.

“I still go to basketball games. I genuinely love GCU. I love the vibe,” she said.

She said she pours that same vibe into her employees,  treating them right, naming drinks after them, but also expecting that same love for customers, who will likely have their name remembered upon a repeat visit.

It’s all centered by good coffee, a dark Honduran bean that is rich but smooth.

GCU alumna Lynnette Fredrick owns and operates The Black Sheep coffee shop in downtown Glendale.

Maynes drinks his nitro cold brew with an extra shot and some toffee nut flavoring.

“I’ve gotten into the history of coffee,” he said, describing the coffee shops that sprung up in Europe in the 17th century. “It has a lot of social qualities.”

The Black Sheep lends itself to the working stiff or busy student, fittingly served in a shop that is a combination of a friendly old-school diner and low-key trendy coffee bar with art lining its white-washed cement block walls.

Maynes said the majority of GCU students come from out of state, so the club is one more way to help them get to know the city.

The six students who attended all lifted their coffee or tea drinks to the center in a toast and started to get to know one another.

Sophomore Sarah Trupp and members of GCU’s Coffee Club strike up conversations over coffee and tea drinks.

Leah LaMont said she had never been there but it was a great way to get off campus.

Sitting next to her was Sarah Trupp, who said she likes to expand her community by being in clubs – and the Coffee Club seemed to be a perfect fit.

“It’s a very chill environment,” she said. “You are able to talk and bond over a cup of coffee.”

In GCU fashion, the club also added a charitable element. It made little cards to stack at the register for customers to donate a tip to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Running the register was a GCU student. Behind her was the barista, GCU alumna Rita Mendez, who once came here as a student to study.

“I love working with my hands. I love helping people,” Mendez said. “And I’ve had a lot of opportunity to share the gospel.”

As the morning picked up, so did the Coffee Club’s conversation, with a double shot of expression.

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected]

***

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