Harriet’s: The secret room revealed

Janelle Harb

Features Layout Editor

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Canisius is full of secrets. Whether it’s the haunted Marie Maday Theatre or the nuclear chemicals stored in Science Hall, our hallowed halls are constantly surprising us. Many people fail to realize that some of these secrets may be hidden in plain sight.  

A campus hotspot to eat, socialize, and play games at is, of course, Iggy’s. However, few people realize that this is not the only establishment located in the upper portion of the Palisano Pavilion. Located next to Iggy’s, beyond the darts and foosball table, is a backroom with a sign above it titled “Harriet’s.”  Many students have never even realized this valuable room was there in the first place, and can be used by clubs on campus.  

Harriet’s is a meeting room, that is ideal for smaller club and campus events.  The room is only available during 5:30-11PM, when Iggy’s is open, but can be used to hold up to 20 people. Aaron Tomassini is one of the primary members of the Leading Men of Canisius group on campus, which is one of the only organizations using this space.  The room was named after Harriet Palisano who, along with her husband, Vincent, donated to the school and have provided numerous scholarships for students in need.

“It has a few tables, a white board, and a TV,” Tomassini stated. “Overall, it’s a pretty simple space but one that provides a much different atmosphere than a classroom, largely due to the music of Iggy’s, the art on the walls, and the availability of a mid meeting snack.” When questioned on why a lack of clubs use this convenient space, Tomassini expressed “I wish I had an answer for you. I think a lot of people just don’t know the space is there.” Tomassini continued, “I know it’s a newer space on campus and I think word just hasn’t gotten out.”

“We think the space provides a very relaxed atmosphere,” Tomassini said. “Leading Men of Canisius can sometimes delve into difficult conversations and heavy topics. With that we wanted a space that helped relax people. It’s a fun space with a good energy and the convenience of having Iggy’s right there.”

Tomassini also went on to explain the disadvantages of using this unique space. “No one seems to know where it is. The A/V setup is lacking a bit. We have to bring in our own projector on the rare occasions we want to use one.”

John Tychinski, the Director of Dining Services on campus, also discussed the use, and disuse, of this space. “Clubs can reserve the space through R25 just as you can do with any bookable space on campus,” Tychinski stated.  

“The space was previously used mostly for storage for the college,” Tychinski continued. “Last year our manager, Ken Mesel, felt it was underutilized by students so he worked to have the space cleared of storage, did some general housekeeping and worked with our Marketing Director, Molly Cummings, to continue the Buffalo themed artwork in Iggy’s into Harriet’s.”   When asked about the advantages of using this space, Tychinski said “[it] offers a more private, intimate area to hold a small reception, party or meeting – and Iggy’s serves great food.”

After all of this investigation, it can be deduced that the mysterious Harriet’s is just another, way cooler, space to rent for students to use. This underutilized room would be a perfect fit for any smaller clubs that are looking for a more casual, unique, comfortable, and somewhat more professional meeting experience. If this is what your club desires, consider booking this space for your next club meeting.

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