Ryan Chartrand

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Frappuccinos and non-fat soy lattes, caramel macchiatos and iced vanilla coffees, DoubleShots and extra foam. These staple drinks of Americans everywhere will soon be making their way to campus, as Associated Students Inc. and the Cal Poly Corporation announced last week that a Starbucks Coffee store will open in the University Union for fall quarter of 2008.

When the coffee franchise moves in, it will replace the existing Julian’s coffee shop on the first floor of the UU and the space previously occupied by the InsomniacU video store. By expanding the size of the store, Starbucks hopes to offer café-style seating and a casual spot for meeting friends or studying.

ASI President Brandon Souza said that after the August 2006 closing of the video store, student members of the University Union Advisory Board (UUAB) gathered feedback from on-campus organizations to find out what students wanted in the space. The board received responses that overwhelmingly pointed toward an expanded, retail coffee shop.

“Starbucks continues to keep the best interest of the corporation and students in mind,” Souza explained. “The corporation is still getting the revenue from the lease of the store space, and we’re hoping students will enjoy the café-like atmosphere of the new coffee shop.”

He said one of the biggest criticisms voiced about Campus Dining is due to a lack of nationally-recognized food venues.

“I think the Starbucks is long overdue,” he said.

Some students said they would frequent the new Starbucks, given that it could also double as a place to study or hang out spot.

“It’s definitely going to increase the popularity at the coffee shop to move a Starbucks in there,” business junior Jon Comeau said. “I’ll probably go there to get coffee and sit down when I’m on campus. This is the first real corporate influence on campus.”

Some students were concerned that bringing more retail franchises to Cal Poly would set a trend of replacing current campus favorites with generic national brands.

“The presence of something like this … I’m not sure how it’s going to affect campus,” business senior Nathan Leis said. “Once you bring a corporate thing into Cal Poly, it might set the precedent for replacing some of the other campus restaurants with franchises.”

Souza explained that bringing nationally recognized names to Campus Dining has been somewhat of a trend at other universities across the nation and that the UUAB makes an effort to see what works for other campuses while receiving input from Cal Poly students.

The existing Julian’s coffee shop will remain open through the end of this school year. Remodeling will begin in the summer with the hopes of having the aroma of Starbucks drifting through the UU when school opens for the fall quarter. Julian’s brand of coffee will continue to be available at some other campus dining spots even after the new Starbucks moves in.

“It’s important for us to give students what they want, considering it is their University Union,” Souza said. “We’re hoping students will be happy to hear a Starbucks is coming … this comes directly from student input.”

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