Mondays are rough for a lot of people.

A hard stop to a good weekend. The start of the work (or school) week. Crummy weather only makes it worse.

Each Monday, the Spiritual Life Center staff at Denison University greets students on their way from East Quad to their first classes of the day. Credit: Alan Miller

But a smile and a cup of coffee can be the warm blanket on that cold reality, the new perspective on the old grind, the thing the doctor ordered to make a Monday feel a little more like a Thursday or Friday.

All of that comes from the table set up outdoors in front of the Denison University Spiritual Life Center in the form of Stephanie McLemore, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life, and Carrie Skowronski, assistant to the director, who are sometimes joined by Denison students.

They cheerfully greet each student (and the occasional professor) who trudges by on the way to morning classes and offer them cups of coffee or hot chocolate — and donuts on the last day of classes today.

Even those who don’t take up the offer of a free refreshment leave that space with fresh energy and at least a fleeting smile as they walk into the week ahead.

Alan Miller

Alan Miller teaches journalism and writes for, the nonprofit news organization of Denison University's Journalism Program. He is the former executive editor of The Columbus Dispatch and former Regional Editor for Gannett's 21-newsroom USAToday Network Ohio.