In an effort to make the university more recognizable, USF has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last year to give the school a new motto and logo. Two Starbucks and a Burger King later, USF’s campus could not be more bland. It is obvious that the school is taking the wrong approach to distinguish itself.
The second Starbucks opened Friday on the third floor of the Barnes & Noble-operated USF Bookstore. Similar to the Burger King on campus, which opened last winter, the interior is USF green. Yet, everything else, including the items on the menu, is just as likely to be found at a mall food court. There is no indication to customers that they are indeed on a university campus, let alone which one.
The university could have easily created an environment that would have helped the campus set itself apart. Why not have students run a cafÃ© as part of their college learning experience? Student-operated cafÃ©s are a longstanding tradition on college campuses, including newer additions such as The Four Winds CafÃ© on the New College of Tampa campus.
Especially considering the central location at the Phyllis P. Marshall — billed as the student union building and financed by student funds — it could have prospered as a unique hangout for students, something the campus lacks. Now it is just one more venue on campus that fills the coffers of a large corporation.
Instead of being daring and creating something unique, the school chose to go the corporate route. Offering a store, which can be found 19 more times in Tampa alone, and 5,400 times nationwide — and now a second time on campus — is rather counterproductive.
The new Starbucks does not add anything to the “college experience” that USF has been touting in an effort to overcome the stigma of being a commuter school.