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Column: Keep Thomas Cooper Library Starbucks-free

If you’ve pulled an all-nighter at the Thomas Cooper Library and had a hankering for snacks to help you through your homework recently, you may have been disappointed by your options. Where’d you normally go for a cup of joe has been replaced by something strange. 

A significant corner of the library has been walled off. A stretch of duct tape outlines a construction area. The adjacent study room is closed down. In place of that familiar facade we once knew sit three little tables, food kiosks and two beverage refrigerators. Our beloved Cooper’s Corner is no more

As a result of this construction the long study tables have been smooshed back. All to make room for yet another Starbucks. This was planned last year when the university switched food service providers from Sodexo to Aramark, known to us as Carolina Food Co., to handle our on-campus dining. 

This change comes along with a slew of other changes in dining options, including the new Starbucks near the humanities buildings and a third new Starbucks to be built in the planned Campus Village. Along with the Starbucks already in Russell House, a mere three-minute walk from the library, that would put us at a grand total of four Starbucks all within a hop, skip and a jump from each other. 

But that’s not counting the number of dining locations that already serve Starbucks coffee and other parts of their menu. Global Cafe, the Hampton Street Cafe, The Buzz and the now defunct Cooper’s Corner all serve Starbucks coffee. Then there’s also two Starbucks in Five Points and the Vista. A practical horde of Starbucks have snuck under our noses. This should’ve raised alarms far sooner. 

Since Cooper’s Corner already served Starbucks coffee and other items off their menu, turning it into a full-fledged Starbucks removes its unique offering and in effect reduces student choice. With several Starbucks already on and around campus, students looking for some can easily find it. Why yet another Starbucks and not something else? Starbucks isn’t the sole seller of coffee in the world, and they shouldn’t be here either. 

It’s great the university is receptive to the trends of today, but I’d rather see our 3.4 percent tuition hike go elsewhere, like a tea place for instance. Something caffeinated to aid in studying like coffee but imaginably healthier to drink every day. The way some students drink coffee almost mirrors an addiction — people often joke about not being able to function without it. 

It would be beneficial if the university offered an alternative to coffee, or at the very least an alternative to Starbucks, that students could explore instead of enabling such habits. Unfortunately this new Starbucks, the latest in the long line of many, has already been paid for. So for the time being the box it’s hatching from will remain an eyesore and an inconvenience until January. At least the university has given us a microwave to help ease the transition.

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