This past summer, Starbucks in Wilson Commons was renovated in a joint collaboration with UR Dining. Many returning UR students are not pleased with the renovations, their discontent shown through memes and interactions on Facebook.
“The decor is very impersonal and dry, so it doesn’t feel as homey as it used to be,” said senior Gabriela Wahba. “Getting rid of the comfy chairs and couches makes it so people don’t want to hang out there anymore, and it feels like another library space instead of a comfortable hangout spot.”
Due to certain policy requirements, Starbucks needs its shops to be refaced and renovated every 10 years. These new changes affect workers and students alike, as indicated by one meme on the Facebook page “Ever better memes for meliora teens.”
“New starbucks + no training time = bad place,” the accompanying post said.
For design changes, Starbucks’ current store theme has recently leaned more towards the “industrial warehouse look, which would have included an open ceiling,” Director of Campus Dining and Auxiliary Operations Cameron Schauf said.
In their collaboration, UR Dining and Starbucks mutually agreed on not having an open ceiling.
“We still wanted it to feel like [UR],” Schauf said.
Changes primarily consisted of a refacing and color scheme change. New tables and backless chairs were introduced and couches were removed. Lighting is now brighter, and the cafe is more spacious.
While most Starbucks employees such as Junior Ayobami Sanusi enjoy the changes of increased work space, UR students generally had negative takes on the cafe’s new look.
“The new Starbucks is very “dining hall” like in that the chairs are uncomfortable — the tables are placed right next to each other,” said senior Sena Demirtas.
“It looks like every other Starbucks in the country and has lost its “college” character,” Demirtas continued.
Other students echoed the negativity. According to senior Bassie Turay, the design choices were poor, the only redeeming quality being the improved space.
“It is less cozy than it was,” Turay said. “They could’ve created a space for some cozy sofas that used to be there.”
“It’s much more spacious,”Turay added. “That’s the plus.”
Lighting seems to be one of the only appreciated additions.
“I definitely like the fact that it’s brighter,” Junior Ejiro Davies-Okarevu said.
Senior Miruna Radulescu said she likes how “it feels more open and the new paint makes it feel more suited for daytime.”
As a regular, sophomore Madeleine Vogel believed the lighting was beneficial for studying.
“I think that the colors make it much more bright — some would argue that it’s less cozy, but I think that it makes for more productivity,” Vogel said.
Whether students approve of the changes or not, the Starbucks renovations are here to stay.
“I can see us getting used to it,” Turay said. “It’ll take some time of course.”