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Editorial: Second Starbucks, first mistake

September 5, 2018

If there’s one skill every college student has mastered, it’s juggling.

 

By that we mean juggling school, a job, extracurriculars, family, a social life, sleep, and so on, though it would

 

be rather impressive if all students had mastered the classic party trick.

 

Most would agree that, in the wake of all those overflowing schedules, nothing complements a hefty to-do list quite like a healthy (or not-so-healthy) dose of caffeine.

 

One of the university’s most-visited caffeine hubs is the Starbucks located on the first floor of the Student Union. Students wait in long lines for their daily coffee/latte/Frappuccino, sometimes even at the expense of being late to class.

 

This semester, the university has chosen to cater to students’ caffeine dependence by installing another Starbucks on the second floor of Carlson Library.

 

“Adding an additional Starbucks to the Carlson Library has been in the plans for several years,” wrote Bonnie Murphy, associate vice president for auxiliary services, in an email interview. “The buildout timeline was actually moved forward to provide the needed enhancement to improve the student on-campus experience.”

 

While we fully support UT adding more dining options and respect the university’s decisions, the IC staff would like to have seen something new join the campus menu.

 

According to Murphy, the university elected to erect a Starbucks in Carlson because of the growing prevalence of cafés in university libraries.

 

The lengthy wait times at the Student Union location also contributed to the decision, along with the library’s ability to “attract students from all disciplines, not to mention alumni and guests,” Murphy wrote.

 

But, if there’s anything a college campus demands, it’s variety. Yes, the Starbucks in the Student Union regularly serves a large number of students, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that an alternative wouldn’t be welcome.

 

If Starbucks is the only place to snag a coffee that’s not way out in Rocket Hall or Gateway Plaza, it’s going to be crawling with students. But do we really need one in back-to-back buildings?

 

Why not save the Starbucks for another spot (engineering campus deserves some love, too) and use the prime library real estate to highlight a lesser-known coffee chain (similar to Java City in Rocket Hall) or even a Toledo-based shop?

 

We know Starbucks is ubiquitous. Visit any city and you’re almost guaranteed to spot one on every corner. Its brand presence means it’ll bring people to the counter, and the university obviously wants to capitalize on its popularity. That’s UT’s prerogative.

 

We’re merely suggesting that the university include a diverse range of options when opportunities arise. More choices will surely generate positive feedback from the student body.

 

And no, we’re not Starbucks haters here at the IC (for the most part). In fact, given that the new location will be right above our office, we’ll probably pay it more than a few visits when it opens in October. Pumpkin Spice Latte, anyone?

 

 

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