Ela Mazumdar, Transcript Reporter
Erik Brewer or “Big E” is a barista at Ohio Wesleyan for Chartwells. But to OWU students, faculty and staff, he is much more than that. He is a mentor, a friend and inspiration.
Brewer has been an essential character in shaping the lives of students for 16 years since he began working at OWU.
“Big E is an OWU icon whose talents go far beyond latte-making,” said senior Mary Suttmeier.
Suttmeier also said Brewer is a special person who always makes her laugh. He factored into her decision to stay at OWU when she considered transferring.
“He is loved as equally as he is lovable. He is an amazing, kind, hilarious person,” Suttmeier said.
Brewer’s relationships at OWU go beyond the students.
Natalie Kalista, one of Brewer’s coworkers, said, “Other people call him Big E, but I call him Big Brother … just because we have worked together over the past 10 or 13 years since I have been here.”
She added that he’s a positive role model who takes joy in interacting with the students.
“When I see him, he just makes my day better and he’s got his little quirks like the rest of us, but he makes me happy and I would be sad without him!”
Brewer began working at OWU when his mother-in-law asked him to help deliver pizzas in Welch Hall.
“I was like, ‘I’m not serving any pizza to any kids. You must be out of your mind.’ But then I changed my mind, gave it a shot and met students who inspired me and made me laugh everyday … I was able to find my family here.”
Brewer said the library café in Beeghly Library was where he remembered connecting with students the most. He would play different kinds of music and the students would gather there. It also gave him the opportunity to meet new freshmen.
“This was a social hour where we really got to know each other and everyone felt comfortable having their own separate conversations while still enjoying the music.”
Brewer is not just a friend, but also a mentor to OWU students.
“Your 20s are about all about you and figuring out who that is while still being confused and yet having a lot of fun and making mistakes which you can use to shape you in the future,” he said.