The University of Victoria has purchased a Starbucks license with a plan to move it into the current space occupied by the Finnerty Express at the UVic Bookstore. Bloomberg photo

UVic students cold on Starbucks coffee

A concerned group of students are staying cool on the coming Starbucks store announced to open at the University of Victoria in 2019.

In recent years the global chain, once popular for its outlandishly-named hot beverages (anyone for a tall, non-fat latte with caramel drizzle?), has become a lightning rod for criticism for its excessive packaging and corporate, non-local products.

The latter arguments are at the heart of a student-driven response to keep Starbucks out of the UVic campus. UVic announced on Nov. 5 it has purchased a Starbucks license and plans to replace the long-running Finnerty Express coffee shop by the UVic Bookstore with a Starbucks by the fall of 2019.

Organizers behind the Stop Starbucks at UVic petition have gained 1,900 signatories but it’s an open conversation, with some around campus saying they’re open to the iconic coffee retailer. Rather, it’s the fact Finnerty Express has long supplied local products such as Salt Spring Coffee, and local bakeries, to UVic students. It’s also Starbucks’ lack of sustainability practises, said petition co-organizer Sydney Welsh, a UVic biology student.

RELATED: Students protest Starbucks’ supplanting local coffee at UVic

“We are not anti-corporation, not anti-UVic, and we are not opposed to people buying Starbucks,” Welsh said. “What we are about is holding UVic accountable to the decisions they make in relation to their own policies.”

Starbucks use of plastic “packaging, upon packaging, upon packaging” on its food products and the amount of waste the store creates on a daily basis, be it paper cups, plastic lids, and plastic wrapping, is unnecessary, Welsh said.

“It’s also a matter of food waste, as a lot of the food is also thrown out if it isn’t purchased on time,” she added. “A large majority of it is not local, it’s brought in from U.S.A., where as Finnerty’s is local products. Even their milk is not locally sourced.”

On the other hand, there have been countless requests for a Starbucks or Tim Hortons by campus guests visiting CARSA, the CARSA turfs, as well as conference and event attendees, and even parents of students.

RELATED: UVic to get a Starbucks in fall 2019

It follows a trend as the University of B.C. now has three Starbucks. Simon Fraser has two Starbucks and, as of last year, Vancouver Island University also has one (which was so busy it had to add staff immediately after opening).

All have returned positive feedback regarding an enhanced student experience, Forbes said.

The director of campus services also said UVic is committed to transitioning Salt Spring Coffee and local bakery products to other retail locations on campus, with hopes of actually increasing their sales volume and availability by placing them in multiple locations.

“The majority of on-campus retail food and beverage outlets will remain independently created brands and represent more than 85 per cent of revenue,” Forbes said.

All of Finnerty’s currently unionized employees will have the opportunity to transfer.

For those concerned, Welsh says there will be another meeting coming up where all opinions are welcome, not just those steadfast against a Starbucks.

“We’ve also heard from people who say they would like a Starbucks but there is a lot of concern,” Welsh said.

Local to UVic are two Starbucks at University Heights and Tuscany Village, as well as one in Cadboro Bay.

Starbucks corporation did not respond to a request for interview.

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Man charged after Langford shooting last year sentenced to 4.5 years

Justin Lemmen found guilty of firearms offenses

Family-owned pharmacy gives away free hand sanitizer in Victoria, Oak Bay

Fort Royal Pharmacy asks people to bring their own containers to fill with sanitizer

Victoria’s youth poetry slam goes digital to accommodate COVID-19

Victorious Voices participants hit the stage virtually

Paramedics called to Oak Bay golf course as man crashes bike into sand trap

Oak Bay police respond to social distance concerns

Friends, family suprise Current Swell singer and new wife with socially distant wedding

‘We just thought we were going over there to have a glass of champagne and do some paperwork’

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Most Read