Trinfo.Café’s Student Leadership Initiative

When we think of Trinfo Cafe, we’re usually thinking of a computer space just off campus at 1300 Broad Street, but the Spring 2019 semester has marked the beginning of Trinfo’s evolution– Program Manager Ari Basche and Director Carlos Espinosa have been committed to moving Trinfo into being a broader use community space. As part of that commitment, they decided to launch a new student leadership initiative for Spring 2019. In addition to the students’ general duties for teaching computer literacy classes to adults and youth and staffing the facility, Ari and Carlos challenged the 15 student workers to take the lead on planning accessible and relevant community events at Trinfo.Café.      

“We would challenge the students to think: how can you make the program universal and accessible? We wanted them to think outside of their own experience– about how the event would be relevant not only to their immediate perspective as a Trinity student but could be also be useful and interesting to people in the community.” – Ari Basche, Trinfo.Café Program Manger

This student leadership initiative builds off a number of successful events hosted by student-community groups such as M.O.C.A. (Men of Color Alliance) and Hartford Iron Poets (#ICYMI check out this recap October’s Open Mic Night hosted by Hartford Iron Poets at Trinfo). Throughout the semester there were 8 student-led events.

Bea Dresser ’22 and Mary Meza ’22 leading a community garden meeting and composting workshop.
Professor Sergio Pint-Handler was invited by Silvia Nunez and La Voz Latina to host the discussion called “Café Con Leche: Crisis in Venezuela.”

The students were also encouraged to think about other student groups or classes they have been a part of that may be of interest to the community. The Paint Night and Cafe Con Leche were both examples of professors coming and sharing their knowledge with students and community members at Trinfo. For example, Mariana Perez and Cody Maldonado approached Professor Joseph Byrne in Studio Arts to help run the Community Paint Night and La Voz Latina reached out to Professor Sergio Pinto-Handler to lead the Crisis in Venezuela discussion. 

Imani: Trinity’s Black Student Union hosting a discussion at Trinfo about the relationship between Trinity College and Hartford.

Some of the student led events have planted the seed for future collaborations between CHER programs and other departments on campus or in the community. For example, Carla Concha and Caitlyn Linehan’s resume workshop grew out of their experience as student workers in both the Office of Student Success & Career Development and at Trinfo Cafe, which has led to conversations between departments about how to provide career skill building to the both Trinity community and Hartford residents. Another event that led to ideas for the future was Trivia Night. Carlos and Ari noticed that one of the community members who came to the event was receiving some help from a Trinity student on translating the trivia questions into Spanish which sparked the idea of offering a Bilingual Trivia Night in the Fall semester.

Overall, Ari and Carlos said they were so impressed with the leadership students showed them and the preparation and planning they put into each event. We’re looking forward to the lineup of Fall events!


To learn more about Trinfo Café visit trinfocafe.org or drop in at 1300 Broad Street, Hartford, CT.