For many sleep-deprived students, the first sip of caffeine is an essential part of any morning routine. The National Library of Medicine reported in 2019 that “caffeine in any form was consumed by 92% of students”. The demand for caffeine is clearly justified, but Colgate still doesn’t offer an adequate option for how many students maintain their energy and focus throughout the day.
Students can currently choose from coffee stations in the O’Connor (Coop) Campus Center, Frank Dining Hall, and Chobani Cafe. In addition, FoJo Beans organizes a temporary stand in the Coop several times a week. Although on the surface this may seem like a sufficient choice, in practice the variety and reliability produced from these options is sparse, as well as of questionable quality.
I think a place that specializes in caffeinated drinks is needed to improve the taste and range of drinks that Colgate serves. In each of the current options providing caffeine on a daily basis, coffee and its alternatives are not the focus of the location. Every dining venue focuses too much on maintaining an extensive menu with drink options, leaving a hole in the times when students need a drink or light snack as opposed to a full meal. A dedicated cafe that only produces various drinks and pastries can help fill that void.
A growing number of students, myself included, who are caffeine addicted but hate the taste of coffee, have turned to alternatives like becoming unofficial baristas making lattes in our dorms or buying energy drinks in nearby stores. The downside to both of these options, however, is that they rely on students investing their own money in a problem that Colgate undoubtedly has the resources to solve.
After visiting friends at other universities, I saw different forms of cafes that I think could be successfully adopted by our school. At Georgetown University, for example, there are student-run cafes conveniently located in study spaces that focus on offering a range of caffeinated beverages and light snacks, such as muffins and bagels. I understand that having multiple student-run cafes is probably not possible due to Colgate’s smaller student population, but I think having one is doable and could provide many benefits.
Having a student-run cafe not only gives students a place to refuel and provides student jobs, but it also serves as a hub for student life. Georgetown cafes contain posters announcing upcoming events and student groups as well as fun signs like assigning personality traits to various cafe orders.
Some places also have couches for students to sit on and work or socialize, providing a more relaxed study space that I also found necessary at Colgate. Additionally, having a student-run dining space can lead to dining options that better reflect current student tastes. Matcha latte, for example, is a drink that has taken the internet by storm and become loved by Gen Z as an alternative to coffee, but has yet to be adopted by any Colgate restaurant.
Another option I saw, this time at Wake Forest University, is an on-campus location for a local cafe. Given that Colgate already has weekly FoJo Beans pop-ups, this could be adapted into a permanent location that gives students the ability to order from the cafe without having to travel to town and further diversifies dining choices.
Attending a school as academically demanding as Colgate can be exhausting. It’s only right that we have a designated site to relax and eat.