Student-run coffee shop scheduled to open on campus fall 2016

Rishika Dugyala, Reporter

An entirely student-run coffee shop is scheduled to open on campus Fall Quarter under the guidance of Northwestern Dining and Sodexo.

The location of the new shop has not yet been confirmed, but Director of Dining Ken Field said it would most likely operate in University Library’s Café Bergson.

After learning that many neighboring universities, such as the University of Chicago, have student-run facilities on campus, Weinberg freshmen Lucas Philips and Brammy Geduld formed the group NU Student Coffee and contacted Field with their idea of creating a student-run coffee shop on campus.

Our vision for the coffee shop, we sort of want it to be a place on campus that’s an escape,” Geduld said. “So a place that doesn’t sort of feel run by the University itself, but more of a place that reflects sort of a social, communal place where students actually want to spend their time.”

Having an all-student staff running the shop would not only create a student-friendly environment, but would also foster experiential learning, Geduld said.

Philips said he and Geduld sent out surveys to ensure students had a say in the type of vibe and food the establishment will have. The co-founders are working on putting together a dedicated management team consisting of a variety of students with different types of backgrounds and hope to provide work-study opportunities at the coffee shop in the future, Philips said.

Field said Sodexo and NU Dining had begun cultivating a program for a student-run facility on campus when Geduld and Philips approached him with their idea, essentially accelerating the planning process.

Rachel Tilghman, Sodexo’s spokesperson at NU, has also been working closely with students regarding logistics.

“There’s so much to running a business,” Tilghman said. “I am excited the students can do it in a protected environment where it’s OK to make mistakes and where we have plans and procedures to help them out. One day, they can build on what they learned here on campus when they go out into the real world.”

Although Sodexo and NU Dining will provide helpful resources and the University will provide the space and machinery, Philips said the students will be the ones in charge of ordering the products, deciding on a menu and essentially running the establishment using a preset budget.

Field said he hopes the coffee shop will become a long-term enterprise here at NU.

“Our goal is to try to build a foundation,” he said. “With the proper student input and drive behind this (enterprise) and enough student interest, it could go on and expand in additional locations across campus.”

In the future, there is also a possibility that all retail locations around campus will become student-run, Field said. For now, NU Dining and NU Student Coffee are taking things slow to ensure that the shop is a success.

“All of our peer institutions have some sort of student-run hospitality business, whether it be a coffee shop or a smoothie bar,” Philips said. “We don’t have anything like that. So I’m excited about this and … it’s time I guess for us to like catch up on that trend.”

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