Need caffeine in the morning? Well, if you find yourself in Business Hall, there’s good news for you: the Rohrer College of Business has recently partnered with Gourmet Dining and Sun Coffee Roasters to establish a student-run, student-lead coffee shop on the first floor of Business Hall.
Dr. Eric Liguori is a liaison for the College of Business in the project, as well as the Rohrer professorial chair of entrepreneurship and the executive director of the Rowan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE).
“This has been in discussion for a very, very long time. Rowan went through a pretty in-depth process of looking at options,” Liguori said. “There was always the goal of having some sort of a coffee shop in Business Hall, and I think the leadership has always wanted to find a way to engage students in that process.”
The RCB coffee shop is fully built and almost completely equipped with all necessary machinery. Once the student management and staff are hired and trained, the shop will be ready for opening.
The hiring process for the managing team is ongoing, but is close to being completed. Once students are selected for management positions, they will hire other students to staff and run the shop.
Since the coffee shop is student-run, many decisions are being left to the student staff, including menu offerings, hours, prices (to a certain extent) and choosing a name for the shop – which has unofficially been called RCB coffee shop in the planning stages.
With students deciding what menu options to offer, food and drink choices may fluctuate over time, and nothing is set in stone. Primarily, the shop will focus on various coffee options, including nitro coffee on tap, with some potential grab-and-go food items available.
Though students interested in working at the RCB coffee shop are not required to be business majors, Liguori says that those have been many of the applicants. All positions at the coffee shop are paid, though there are also opportunities to receive academic credit.
“It is easier if we’re going to integrate the curriculum and do internship credit or some sort of course overlaid with it, to do that within the business school. So those credits will count likely more easily for business majors,” Liguori said. “But every major has different open elective credit options, so it could very well count elsewhere too.”
All coffee sold at the shop is being supplied by Sun Coffee Roasters, a company dedicated to sustainably sourcing coffee beans from certified Rainforest and Fair Trade organizations around the world.
“At the start of the semester, the target [for opening] was the Monday after spring break. I think that the interview staffing process is taking a little bit longer than anticipated… I haven’t heard anything that suggests it wouldn’t this semester, but the last date I heard for a target was the Monday after spring break, and I think at this point that’s, at least in a full-scale capacity, probably unrealistic.”
The shop will be the second student-run initiative within the college, the first being Studio 231, which allows students to brainstorm and prototype ideas. It opened in October 2017, with full operation starting in spring 2018.
“We want to create experiential learning opportunities for students at Rowan…” Liguori said. “You could go and do an internship somewhere, you could take one of our project-based learning classes or you could go and work in this space, which is sort of like a learning laboratory.”
“I think there’s a lot of impressive students at Rowan and so it’s kind of a cool opportunity to see some people lead, and I’m optimistic to see the cool things they come up with.”
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