The implications of Starbucks coffee at UD

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Photo by Peter Burleigh

Caffeine is an integral part of a college student’s day. A study done by the University of Kentucky showed that over 78% of college freshmen consumed more than the recommended amount of caffeine every day. 

While caffeine can be ingested in numerous ways, the average college student relies on coffee for their daily dose. That’s why having tasty, drinkable coffee in a college cafeteria is a priority. 

As many University of Dallas students have noticed during the first few weeks of this semester, Aramark has upgraded the coffee provider in Haggar Cafe to Starbucks, to the joy of pretty much every student who has a meal plan. 

Kok Cheng Teng, Food Service Director of Aramark, explained in an email that Aramark decided to switch the coffee because they “identified a need to elevate the previous Folgers Coffee concentrate program to a freshly brewed coffee program.” 

While a change in coffee was definitely needed, the decision to partner with Starbucks left me scratching my head. As a corporation, Starbucks directly supports Planned Parenthood, according to Family Council, who published a list as of Jan. 2019 of companies that donate to Planned Parenthood. 

Teng said that the reason Aramark chose Starbucks for Haggar Cafe was that, after they contacted various coffee providers, “Starbucks was the most responsive to our need and started the ball rolling as soon as they received our request!” 

While Aramark may not take a stance in the debate surrounding Planned Parenthood and abortion, they should respect UD’s pro-life stance. And, although I believe that the quality of coffee on a college campus is very important, and I would be the first to admit that the Starbucks coffee is far superior to the Folgers that was offered before, Aramark and UD should do a better job of upholding the university’s Catholic, pro-life values, even in as small a way as the campus coffee vendor. 

UD’s’ pro-life student population and Catholic values are what define UD to almost all prospective students and those on the outside looking within. Our pro-life club is our largest student organization on campus!

Standing up for the right to life is a holistic effort that would lose its integrity if we did it only in certain instances, like prayerful presences, but then went right back to funding companies that fund the very organizations which threaten the lives of the unborn. 

While it may take more effort to find a coffee vendor that aligns with UD’s morals, it is worth it. 

President of the Crusaders for Life club, Kateri Remmes, agrees that UD should explore such options.

“I think it is of far greater importance that we maintain a strong Catholic identity as a school by choosing to work with companies that uphold human dignity, unlike Starbucks,” Remmes wrote in an email. 

Yes, our university cafe’s choice of a coffee vendor is a rather small matter. The money that goes to Starbucks which will then be given to organizations like Planned Parenthood is only like a drop in a pond, but the pro-life movement will never progress if we grant a source of income to those who deny the unborn the right to life.

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