Holy Grounds Barista Adds Dose of Cheer to Your Coffee Order



Elizabeth Wetjen Contributing Writer

If you go to this University, chances are that you’re a regular customer at Holy Grounds. And if you happen to frequent the Holy Grounds in the Connelly Center, chances are you’ve met Greg Morrison. 

“Are you having a wonderful day!?” Morrison asks each customer as they approach him, eager to hear their answer to his question and to take their order. 

Now a sophomore student majoring in accounting and international business, Morrison has been working at Holy Grounds since the beginning of his freshman year. 

“I wanted a job where I would be able to encounter people, talk to people and meet new people,” Morrison says. 

Working at Holy Grounds, Morrison has developed a unique style of service, gaining him a distinct reputation on campus as a barista. Whether it’s on the fourth floor of the library while studying, or late at night on a weekend, he comes across customers who instantly recognize him for his unfailing positive attitude. 

“A lot of people come to Holy Grounds because they’re tired and need a boost,” Morrison says. “People come for the caffeine, but if you add positivity and enthusiasm, it gives them an extra boost.”

Morrison’s method of giving that extra boost is to ask customers questions in order to have them reflect upon their day. 

“I always ask people if they’re having a wonderful day,” Morrison says. “A lot of times people don’t think about that. If you show people that you care, it makes them think. Sometimes I’ll ask a customer how their day was on a scale of one to ten, and they’ll say, ‘Five million six hundred forty-three thousand five hundred and twenty-two point three.’ I love it.”

Coming from a small high school with a graduating class of 22, Morrison was initially afraid to attend a bigger school. He found his place at Villanova as a barista, through which he has made many of his friends. 

“I can definitely say I’ve met most of my friends by working at Holy Grounds,” Morrison says. “All of the coworkers are close. Even seeing familiar faces, like people who study in Conn all the time, and ‘regulars’ have become my friends. Most of my friendships, even if they didn’t start at Holy Grounds, grew because of it.”

Julia Wallace, another sophomore student, met Morrison at the beginning of their freshman year. She began working at Holy Grounds a few weeks after Morrison, and quickly became close friends with him. 

“He was so confident in his barista skills,” Wallace says. “I thought he was a junior or senior. When we became friends, I found out that he was just a super nice and confident freshman.”

Tasha Miller, Morrison’s supervisor, calls him the face of Holy Grounds. According to her, Greg goes above and beyond at work— making calls to other locations on campus to see if they have a specific product, helping customers with disabilities carry their food and walking it to their table, even running the coffee shop when she’s not around. 

“In the time I’ve worked with him, he has never had a bad day,” Miller says. “Even if he is, he doesn’t show it. He always acts like he’s having the best day of his life. People will come to Holy Grounds just because he’s there. He lifts their spirits up.”

“I just try to be as boisterously positive as I can,” Morrison says. “It can have that positive effect, and make people leave not just with a good product in their hand, but a smile on their face.”

Morrison’s blue eyes light up when he talks about his experience as a barista, and he indulges in telling stories of his customers.

“I like when I ask someone if they’re having a wonderful day and they repeat the question back to me,” Morrison says. “I don’t expect them to ask the same thing, but I think it’s cool when people answer and then respond back, ‘How was your day?’ My favorite response was one time when a customer responded, ‘Yeah. I’m walking, I’m talking, I’m happy, I’m healthy. What more could I ask for?’ I thought that was an awesome response, so I stole that mantra.”

Morrison’s positivity seems to come naturally to him now, but his past experiences have molded his persona and attitude. 

“When I was younger, I was bullied,” Morrison says. “I was overweight and it made it difficult to go to school, especially since it was so small. I learned how to deal with it and took the ‘kill them with kindness’ approach.”

Even though being a barista at Holy Grounds is what most people know Morrison for, he has other involvements at Villanova that he is just as passionate about. He is a member of Phi Sigma Pi, the honors fraternity, as well as the Augustinian Values Organization, which strives to foster relationships between the friar population on campus and students at Villanova. Morrison also serves as a tour guide for the Blue Key Society and sings with Pastorals, the chapel choir. He enjoys any outdoor related activities, from hiking to kayaking, and especially loves sunshine—a metaphor of his personality.  

“I like learning how to do things too,” Morrison says. “I’ll just Google a random thing that pops into my head, like how to sew on a button. They’re stupid little things, but they’re random skills that come in handy.”

Another skill customers might not guess about Morrison is his ability to create his own drinks at Holy Grounds. His go-to order is one that he came up with himself: the ‘Triple Double,’ an iced tea based drink on the secret menu that only a few employees know how to make.

Morrison did not originally plan to be a barista, or to even come to Villanova at all. 

“My dad went to Villanova,” Morrison says. “I wanted something that set me apart, so I committed to another college.”

Morrison’s father made a bet with him that if Villanova won the National Championship in 2016, he would at least have to go on a tour.

“On the tour, I started to like the school more and more. My mom had to go to the bathroom, so we stopped in Connelly, where we saw Jay Wright, Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu. My mom insisted that I get a photo with them. When I did, Ryan took his bracelet off, gave it to me, and said, ‘Humble and hungry. That’s one of our team mottos.’”

Constantly smiling, chatting with customers and joking with his coworkers, Morrison’s positivity and enthusiasm seem to infect everyone around him, drawing in people from every corner of campus. 

“I don’t ever have a bad day,” Morrison says. “I don’t know if this whole positivity thing is so engrained in my head and whether that’s a good or bad thing, but I just don’t have bad days. Like that customer said, I’m walking, I’m talking, I’m happy, I’m healthy. And every day is a wonderful day.”