The University of Indianapolis began a series of renovations with the Health Pavilion, but when students came back to campus after winter break, they found another change in place. The Perk had become part of the “We Proudly Serve” Starbucks Program.
According to Vice President for Student and Campus Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli, students had expressed interest in having a Starbucks on campus, but the reason why the new program was created was due to the new General Manager of Dining Services Diane Szalai.
“She [Szalai] was looking at options for The Perk and was talking with different companies,” Vitangeli said. “There were a couple different options for having a Starbucks on campus, and one of them was the ‘We Proudly Serve’ Starbucks Program. When she [Szalai] researched it and talked to the folks from Starbucks, she realized that we could still have The Perk, [and] serve the Starbucks drinks, and it was something that we could monetarily afford.”
The new Health Pavilion and the coming renovation of Krannert Memorial Library also factored into the decision to serve Starbucks at The Perk, according to Vitangeli.
“We also knew that with the building of the Health Pavilion and the library coming online that they are likely going to be serving coffee in both of those venues, so it was a good time for us to try something different to see how it worked,” Vitangeli said.
The “We Proudly Serve” Program is not the same as owning a franchise of Starbucks. According to Vitangeli, the program does not require The Perk to send any of its profits to Starbucks.
“You have to pay up front an amount of money to Starbucks to serve their products, and you have to buy their products,” she said. “You can only serve their products, but no amount of the profits go to Starbucks.”
According to the Starbucks Coffee Company’s official website, the “We Proudly Serve” Program provides coffee shops with a variety of brews in a variety of sizes so that people involved in the program can adapt it to whatever suits their needs.
The program is designed to allow coffee shops serving a smaller or more selective group of people to adapt the Starbucks menu to their needs. Vitangeli said that the program was used by other universities and by small hotels as well.
Sophomore international relations major and employee at The Perk Kendra Thomas said that the adjustment to serving Starbucks was not difficult.
“A lot of the drinks are based the same way,” she said. “There are stricter protocols that we have to follow, but the basis of most things is similar.”
Senior finance major Tingting Hu also said that the transition was simple, and that The Perk has kept the syrups from before to use in the drinks. According to Thomas, The Perk has been a lot busier since it began serving Starbucks.
Serving Starbucks at The Perk is not the last of the changes coming. According to Vitangeli, Krannert Memorial Library renovations will start after graduation this year.
“The second week of May a lot of the library staff will actually be moving over to Schwitzer for the summer, and they’ll start the renovations right afterwards,” Vitangeli said.
The completion of the Health Pavilion also will lead to some rearranging over the summer months.
“Once all the offices vacate and go over to the Health Pavilion, there will probably be some changes in terms of who gets moved around on campus,” Vitangeli said.
Vitangeli said that renovations to the Campus Apartments are soon to come as well.
“That is in the strategic plan,” she said. “Hopefully in the next few weeks, we’ll be able to have some decisions about the timeline for the Campus Apartments.”