Kinsey Ho ’27 and Belén Yudess ’25
Staff Writer and Copy Editor Intern
Lit up and brilliantly alive, Sept. 21 saw the long-awaited annual opening of the Motley. The Matrix-themed opening party, dubbed The Motrix, saw hordes of leather-clad, sunglass-ed students flocking to the newly renovated cafe to partake in signature drinks and enjoy live music provided by Fischli’s Animals and Tea Room. Posters outside invited attendees to make the iconic Red Pill/Blue Pill choice, and the entire Seal Court buzzed with anticipation at the return of the cherished coffeehouse.
With another pun to continue the tradition of last year’s reopening theme, The Mot Gala, The Motrix was the brainchild of the Motley’s management team, run by dedicated co-head managers Rachel Corbett ’24 and Angie Rivera ’24. Management also noted that community engagement manager Nayla Dayal ’25 was integral in ensuring the success of the planning and execution of the event!
“I think the Motrix was really special because it was the first time everyone had seen what the new Motley looked like,” Networking Manager Avalon Brice ’24 said. “I think that night all of us were super excited that people were ordering all our fun drinks and just having fun
Aside from the eccentric decorations, the Motley also featured a special drinks menu with names including the Red Pilled, Blue Pilled, Main Frame, The Oracle, Neapolitan, and the Trinitea. Although the Motley staff did an excellent job cultivating an energetic space, Dayal emphasized that the inclusion of student bands added an additional layer of enthusiasm to the night.
“During these openings, they always pull it together and are so willing to perform,” she said. “It’s so sweet of them because they work tirelessly leading up to the opening to practice and rehearse, and they are so talented.”
The Motley looks slightly different than what returning students might remember. The combined efforts of the all-students management team and Facilities, transformed the space, retaining the lively ambiance and exposed-brick charm signature of the Motley while updating it with fresh decor, furniture, and a brand-new bar with tiles hand-painted by the Motley’s creative and hardworking staff.
Commendable is the work of various Scripps Facilities personnel, such as Garrett Solomon and Kevin Mullis from Media Services, who upgraded the Motley with new and improved sound equipment. The managerial staff was also essential in communicating with Facilities and organizing the space in preparation for a September opening!
Dayal explained that one of the main goals of the remodel was to expand the seating area to acclimate the large crowds that constantly populate the space. Brice seconded that rationale and added that the new design improved the working situation of the baristas. “The remodel was very necessary,” she said. “Our bar has expanded so much. There’s so much more room for the baristas to make drinks and no one’s bumping into each other. It’s just a better environment.”
The team hopes to personalize the space further in the future to highlight the Motley’s rich history and culture that is unique to Scripps. “We’re super excited to have this space and I think we’re really trying to incorporate the Motley energy that everyone loves and feels,” said Brice brightly. “We’re looking for student art to be put up and we want to incorporate new people because there’s full new classes of people that haven’t been in the Motley and want to take up their own space here. We also want to incorporate our history because not a lot of people know about it. I want to meet with Jennifer at Denison because they have a lot of archival Motley stuff.”
The opening also comes with some brand new staff members, invigorated and ready for the crowds to flood in. “This year’s barista team is lovely,” said Co-Barista Lead Laila Hannum ’26. “I just feel like the Motley is such a great environment and I think that the energy of the meetings has been very positive. There has been lots of laughter and people wanting to get to know each other. I’m just really grateful.”
But while some of the drink-makers may be new, pastries and other delicious treats will continue to be provided by Homeboy Industries. The company is one of the largest gang rehabilitation programs in the world.
“In our past mission statement it said that we aspire to be a socially responsible business — that’s still true, but we’re reworking ways that we intend to do that,” said Special Products Manager Edwina Polynice ’25. “One of the ways that we intend to do that is picking through the businesses that we work with. I think being ethical comes in all different ways. Whether or not the business hires people fairly and treats their workers fairly comes into play.”
Although the Motley’s traditional tree mural has been uprooted, the strong and uplifting sense of community has remained and continues. This sentiment is not only shared amongst the frequent patrons of the coffeehouse but also among the vibrant Motley staff. “I’ve made some of my best friends working here,” said Brice. “I love every person that I work with and each holds a special part in my heart … and I get to see other people come in and smile, and experience the joy that the Motley brings.”
Dayal echoed her gratitude for her co-workers and her ability to work in a position that contributes to all aspects of her experience. “I think the thing that makes this work unique is that it’s a job but it’s also your social time because all of us are really good friends and we spend a lot of time here just having fun and chilling out,” she said. “I think it’s really nice that we work so hard on this place, but then also have such a lovely social community coming out of it. I feel in a way working here has shaped my experience at Scripps.”
Dayal also professed her hopes for future use of the space as a place for CLORGs and students to congregate. She urged anyone interested in booking the Motley for an event to reach out!
The Motley team encourages students to stop by and experience this exceptional camaraderie for themselves while also enjoying a delicious strawberry peach matcha, raspberry mocha, or whatever drink their heart desires!
If you have any event ideas, suggestions, or questions, please feel free to reach out to staff during the cafe’s hours 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends or through their Instagram @motleycoffee!
Image Source: Sarah Wilkson ’27