As many students may have already noticed and taken advantage of, the University Center has been giving out coffee free of charge for several weeks now. While this miniature coffee station operates on the UC Stage, the abandoned Starbucks coffee counter sits a few feet away, closed until further notice.
“There’s free coffee in the UC. I mean, free coffee. What could be better? I’m taking advantage of this!” said Professor Gerry Moran, director of the Honors Program, enjoying his complimentary caffeine fix during a Western Culture class on Thursday.
While he has a point, not everyone is quite as happy with the obstacle to the completion of the new UC dining options. The highly anticipated addition to McKinley Café’s previous coffee selection provided an alternative for students who weren’t willing to sacrifice their parking spots on campus to venture all the way to the Starbucks on Michigan Avenue for their lattes and mochas.
“It’s sad that it had to close,” said Natalie Farah, psychology major and junior at UM-Dearborn. “It would have been nice for that to be there so we could get good coffee during breaks without having to leave campus.”
So why did UM-Dearborn’s answer to the student body’s collective coffee addiction have to close so soon? The university’s new food service provider, Sodexo, had issues with the permits and paperwork associated with the new dining options. However, the rest of the food stations in McKinley Café, such as Subway, the Grille, and Slice of Life are still operating, indicating that only the new Starbucks coffee area has legal issues to work out.
“I heard it was a paperwork issue,” said Mustapha Hammoud, engineering student and independent investigator into the Starbucks mystery. Hammoud’s theory was later verified by Sodexo workers:
“They couldn’t find their building permits. That’s all the managers told us,” said Anna Shermak, student at UM-Dearborn and worker in the Starbucks department at Sodexo. “They submitted their paperwork, I want to say today, and it will take 30 days for them to go through that. It could even take more than 30 days, depending on how the department handles it.”
Managers at the Starbucks department were unavailable for comment, as was Sodexo General Manager Susan Matheson.
While it will apparently be a minimum of 30 days before the paperwork can be processed and Starbucks can get back in action, many students and faculty seem to be enjoying the delay.
“I like that they’re giving out free coffee though,” Hammoud added.
Perhaps the complimentary coffee station will turn out to be an even better addition to McKinley Café than the Starbucks. UM-Dearborn will undoubtedly welcome back the Starbucks counter once the Sodexo managers get all their paperwork in order, but until those building permits are processed, students and faculty alike will be taking advantage of the free coffee in the UC. Get your caffeine fix while you can—Sodexo could have their paperwork processed in a month and start charging for coffee again!