Pat Li/Sun Contributor

Green Dragon is popularly frequented by students in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning and other creative communities.

March 29, 2024

Green Dragon Employees Petition Cafe’s Reported Closure

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Multiple Green Dragon employees said that the student-run cafe is set to close beginning in Fall 2024 due to renovations to Sibley Dome, the centermost structure of Sibley Hall.

Disappointed by the potential loss of the iconic hub for students in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning and other creative communities, employees are fighting to preserve the space or relocate the cafe during renovations. 

Upon hearing of the cafe’s potential closure, Green Dragon employee Kenneth Gonzalez ’24 created a petition to advocate for the cafe to stay open or be relocated throughout the 2024-2025 academic year. On the first day Gonzalez shared the petition, he said it already received “five pages worth of signatures.”

“As a cherished part of our community, the Green Dragon cafe has fostered a welcoming environment for artists, queer people, fashion statements and chai lovers alike,” the petition states. “We cannot let this cultural hub disappear without a fight.”

Green Dragon employee Kenneth Gonzalez ’24 created a petition to preserve the cafe for the next academic year. (Christina MacCorkle/Sun News Editor)

Despite graduating this semester, Gonzalez emphasized the significance of safeguarding a fundamental aspect of student life.

“[Green Dragon is] the one place I go to almost every day. I think the vibe here is very different from other places on campus,” Gonzalez said. “It’s really conveniently located for architecture, art and urban planning students, and this is their home base. It’s hard to imagine a place similar to this one.” 

AAP did not explicitly confirm if the cafe would close. 

“Once the scale of impact and construction schedule are confirmed, the college will work with the contractor to develop a plan that minimizes the temporary disruption to affected areas, including the Green Dragon,” AAP wrote in a statement shared with The Sun by Cornell Media Relations. 

But Ashley Chou ’25, a Green Dragon employee, said the cafe’s closure next fall is “absolutely confirmed.” 

“It’s going to close because [Sibley Hall] is caving into Green Dragon,” Chou said. “Ironic, because we are in the architecture building.” 

AAP also noted that if Green Dragon were to close, it would not be permanent. 

“While we cannot currently confirm which areas may be temporarily affected by the renovation of the dome, should we anticipate a short-term impact on the Green Dragon Cafe, the college will do everything possible to minimize disruption. We have no plans to permanently close the Green Dragon Cafe,” the statement read. 

However, even a temporary closure of the cafe means a loss of community for many students, particularly for those in AAP.

“If the Dragon is gone, there’s literally no place for architecture and art people to study and chill — this is the only place we go in between classes,” said Christopher Kim ’27, an architecture student and Green Dragon employee. “When the studio is so toxic and so depressing, we come down here and have a relaxing space.”

Sibley Dome will begin renovations this summer, which includes “repairs to the structure and foundations on adjacent spaces,” according to an AAP statement.

Located in the basement of Sibley Dome, one of these “adjacent spaces” is Green Dragon. 

According to the Sibley Dome Renovation project description, the renovation includes “demolition of existing interior space including asbestos abatement,” which refers to the removal of a hazardous substance that was popular in construction from the 1940s through the 1970s. 

Gonzalez lamented the potential loss of an artistic environment should Green Dragon close. 

“It’s sad, especially since [Green Dragon] has so many things to offer, like last week we had an open mic, and I don’t know a place on campus that can hold that vibe the way Green Dragon did,” Gonzalez said. “It’s very artistic and musical and theatrical, so [the idea it could be closed] is very sad.”

Clarification, April 12, 12:18 p.m.: This article has been updated to clarify the location of Sibley Dome and Green Dragon within Sibley Hall.