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

Teams back on the field in Langford

Soccer championships back in action after postponement

WorkBC Sidney zooms up virtual job fair

Fair scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday features four local employers

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Most Read