by Rebekah Bresee
Before the Mind and Hearth coffee shop was built, a smoothie stand occupied the area.
Due to student interest, Sodexo and student government are incorporating a Jamba Juice station to the cafe food service for next year.
“When we were in the process of adding the new addition to the cafeteria, we asked students what they would like to see,” Sodexo general manager Jim O’Brien said. “In addition to Italian and Asian food, one of the things was a Jamba Juice.”
O’Brien and the Sodexo staff have been collaborating with student government to turn that interest into reality.
Junior Tyler Coopman is the intramural coordinator. Although he is part of the student leadership team, he first expressed his desire for a smoothie stand to Sodexo as a student.
“I knew that I was one of many who wanted a smoothie stand on campus,” Coopman said.
Coopman contacted Sodexo and presented his idea. After Sodexo responded with the possibility of adding a Jamba Juice to campus, Coopman brought the idea to student leadership.
“I was never officially made the representative for ASWU,” Coopman said. “I brought up the idea at a meeting and there was a unanimous ‘Yes’ from the team.”
Having a Jamba Juice on campus will provide students with more variety of options when choosing a snack.
“I like that we’ll have more choices than the coffee shop,” freshman Cassidy Baumgartner said. “I mean, you can get things that are healthy, but they are not the healthiest.”
Although Sodexo, Inc. is an individual food catering service, it has national contracts with outside businesses.
That allows the Whitworth Sodexo staff to bring in alternate dining options such as Jamba Juice or the Starbucks coffee shop in Robinson Science Hall.
“I have been in touch with Jamba Juice and we are talking about doing a site visit to see where to put the Jamba Juice station,” O’Brien said.
Initial conversations considered placing the Jamba Juice in the new Recreation Center. However, there is no space left in the plans to do so.
Now, O’Brien said he believes the Jamba Juice will be located in the cafe. He is considering extending the counter of the Mexican food station, Ultimate Baja, and adding the Jamba Juice to that.
“It will be pretty tight in the cafe, but it’ll be worth it,” Coopman said.
Another option is replacing Ultimate Baja with Jamba Juice. If that occurs, popular items from the Ultimate Baja menu, such as quesadillas and burritos, will be added to the Grill 155 menu.
“We will have a better idea of where exactly the Jamba Juice will be after the site visit,” O’Brien said.
Adding the Jamba Juice to the cafe may bring about other changes as well.
The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Since smoothies are a popular breakfast item, O’Brien said he is considering having the Jamba Juice open at 7 a.m. so students will be able to grab a smoothie for breakfast.
“I think it’ll have more appeal for students who don’t drink coffee,” Baumgartner said.
If the cafe does open earlier, Sodexo staff is considering serving breakfast sandwiches at the Grill 155.
O’Brien is considering factors such as finances and hiring employees while exploring those options.
“I plan to ask Jamba Juice if they typically get many customers in the morning and how that compares to the rest of the day,” O’Brien said. “I need more information before I make a decision.”
Like other dining services at Whitworth, Sodexo will hire students to work at the Jamba Juice and accept flex dollars.
“This is a good example of student desire being accommodated by Sodexo,” Coopman said.
Construction should start in late May or the early part of June and will last for two or three weeks. It will be open for business for the 2013 fall semester.
The cost of construction is still unknown. Part of the cost depends on where the Jamba Juice will be located, which will be determined after the site visit.
“We’re excited,” O’Brien said. “We want to keep improving the program.”
Contact Rebekah Bresee at firstname.lastname@example.org