Within just the last two years, multiple campus coffee shop storefronts like the Lovejoy Library’s Starbucks and the former location of Kaldi’s are left sitting empty by campus closures. As many students and staff depend on caffeine to get through the day, there’s mounting pressure on SIUE to provide more than just the MUC Starbucks.
Granted, there are some options besides Starbucks on campus if you’re not terribly picky. These come mainly from the bottled Starbucks drinks in the fridges at Union Station and the Center Court’s limited coffee options. Though these options aren’t a bad idea for a quick energy boost, if you want more variety than a drink or a plain cup of coffee with some lukewarm creamer on campus you’ll have to go to Starbucks in the MUC.
Unfortunately, the lines for that Starbucks regularly stretch far into the Goshen lounge, and with primarily new students working as baristas, rushes are not kind to them. Providing another option for fresh coffee on campus would take some pressure off of them, especially when winter rolls around and hot drinks come back in demand.
Overall, it’s in SIUE’s best interest to provide another option for quick, fresh coffee, especially as burnout could lead to less productivity in employees at the only currently open Starbucks, meaning even longer lines. If the burnout happens too quickly, it can even lead to the students currently employed quitting, leading to a more intense shortage in Dining Services student employees. Thankfully, there’s already a few options available to lessen the pressure.
As those who have been at SIUE since before the pandemic know, leading up to 2020 one of the university’s projects was opening up a second Starbucks within the Lovejoy Library. It actually opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony in September 2020, not deterred from opening by the pandemic. Yet as we all know now, that aspiration has crumbled into nothing but the abandoned shack you see when you enter the library from the Quad.
Why not reopen that? Lovejoy Library’s Starbucks would be the most convenient thing to reopen under current circumstances. It’s designed to be smaller and would only need 1 or 2 employees at a time, taking some pressure off of the employees of the MUC Starbucks. This reopening would distribute traffic to both locations, and be the easiest option on Dining Services as they wouldn’t have to put out a huge amount of shifts that need to be covered.
As previously mentioned, the former Kaldi’s location within the Student Success Center is empty too. Even if Kaldi’s can’t come back, this location could easily contain another smaller coffee shop, or something from a bigger chain like Dunkin Donuts or even another Starbucks, if that ends up being most convenient to add.
Since the structure for a coffee shop is already there, it’d be cheaper than trying to convert it into something else. Additionally, turning it into another coffee shop would make it look more visually appealing, instead of how it currently damages SIUE’s image as an empty, chained up store front.