SGA Senate Calls For Replacement of Starbucks With Student Cafe


Patrick D. Lewis

By Patrick D. Lewis

The Student Government Association’s Senate passed a resolution on December 4 to have a new cafe on campus with a 17-9 vote margin. The 17-9 vote makes the resolution the most-opposed legislation passed by the Senate since SGA made vote margins public in 2022.

Resolution 9-005 supports “the establishment of a student engagement cafe in the Pryzbyla University Center.”

In its reasoning, the resolution says that “there is a strong desire for a new coffee shop that incorporates more student involvement, supports a smaller business model, and aligns more closely with the University’s values and mission.” 

The resolution also states that the University’s contract with Starbucks, which owns and operates the current coffee shop on the third floor of the Pryzbyla Center, is set to expire this year. 

It argued that “with the ample amount of time and money students spend at the current coffee option in the Pryzbyla University Center, there is an opportunity to support a company that will pour back into the student population.” It also says that student involvement in such a cafe would give students “lessons in management and operations.”

Additionally, the resolution says that a smaller business, rather than a very large corporation like Starbucks, would benefit greatly from the significant revenue the coffee shop would generate and it would foster a heightened sense of community and collaboration on campus.

The resolution also argues that the new cafe would better support the Catholic mission of CUA compared to Starbucks. ,

It writes, “[A]s an organization, Starbucks participates in actions that do not support the values that are the backbone of our university such as the right to life, most notably financial support of Planned Parenthood.”

Senator Mary Grace Raddell (Conway School of Nursing) sponsored the resolution, which was co-sponsored by Senators Lance (Class of 2025) and D’Albero (Architecture).

According to Senator Raddell and several students who attended the meeting, the opposition to the resolution was divided into two camps: those who opposed the resolution as unnecessary and those who opposed it because they viewed it as a politically-charged agenda. 

However, Raddell says that was not the intended main focus. 

“The resolution is really just about what I’d heard from other people,” Raddell said.  “It’s really not my agenda, it’s what other voices wanted.”

Senator Raddell discussed the idea with the Senate’s Executive Board and also met with Bill Jonas, University Assistant Vice President for Events and Dining Services, before and after introducing the resolution. 

Mr. Jonas told her that Saxbys, which runs college coffee shops in partnership with students across the country, had been brought up in University conversations as a company that could be brought in to replace Starbucks.

Daniel Drummond, Associate Vice President of Communications, wrote in a university statement, “While there are various suggestions regarding the future of the Starbucks space, there are currently no concrete plans for changing the nature of the space. We look forward to continuing conversations with students and others in the community about the possibilities.”

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