Before the Student University Center became a convenient place to eat, study and socialize, Georgia State students had been escaping their academic life at downtown city parks, pubs and eventually on the Plaza, which was built in the early 1970s.
“We mostly hung in the Plaza,” said Melissa Brennaman (B.A. ’89, M.P.A. ’93). “There was a 40-minute break at 10 a.m. then and they would have concerts, pottery sales and book sales. We would also hang out in the B&D cafeteria. I thought the food was good, but a lot of people made fun of the ‘drawer’ burgers, which were burgers pre-cooked and kept warm in a drawer.”
Because it was one of the only places for busy students to grab a bite nearby, the B&D on the second floor of the Student Center was given an unflattering nickname: The Bite and Die.
“Many students, having no other opportunities and little time, always ate one, two, three meals in the B&D,” said McRae Williams (B.B.A. ’70, MBA ’72). “So we even got tired of our own mother’s cooking, much less the B&D’s. Thus, the proverbial nickname ‘Bite and Die’ had to happen.
“But, despite its name, there was a life in that cafeteria. The place had a personality. It was not only the place to eat, it was the place to socialize and meet your friends,” Williams said.
In the 1970s, students could watch art house films in the Lyceum, housed in a room in Classroom South, and visit popular pubs after class, such as the former Ivy Street Library, a tavern that sat across Peachtree Center Avenue (formerly known as Ivy Street) from the Hurt Building.
William Waugh, a professor of public management and policy at Georgia State since 1985, said he invited graduate classes to the “Library” to network and discuss books that were displayed.
“The Library was a unique setting,” Waugh said. “The books lent something of a serious air and the close proximity to campus made it convenient for most students and faculty.”
(cutline) Congregating spots at Georgia State have changed over the years. (Top) Students read the Signal atop Sparks Hall Terrace in 1968. (Below) Members of the Eta Mu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha come together in the late 1970s.