Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Students aid in decision on new coffee cart in Kent

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Student worker Jacob Koegh prepares snacks behind the counter of Mississippi Mugs, the new coffee cart venue in Knet Library Monday, Aug. 26.
Photo by Jelani Days ~ Staff Photographer

After Chartwells decided to close the Kaldis’ coffee cart last December, students and faculty worked together to reopen the space.

After months of discussion, Kent Library finally received permission on Aug. 2 to launch a pilot program to reopen a coffee cart in the empty space in Kent Library under the name Mississippi Mugs. The new coffee cart officially opened Aug. 19 for the fall semester.

Not only does the spot have a new name, but it also includes refurbished furniture and more lighting. In addition, the cart has a variety of hot drinks and snacks to choose from. Those working on the project also decided to change the lighting and furniture in the small area and add new drinks and snacks to their menu after hearing from the students and staff.

This was done by the work of multiple parties, all overseen by the dean of Kent Library Barbara Glackin.

“It is an important part of the main floor of the library,” Glackin said. “People come in from either side and are seeing this abandoned space, we don’t want that going forward.”

A group of students from instructor James Youn’s Marketing Research course were each assigned a project to help a department on campus to work with them to solve a problem related to marketing research. One of the student groups was assigned the empty kiosk space in Kent Library.

“We had the student group from the marketing class who were really interested in running an online survey and talking with students, because you guys [the students] are the ones who are in the building the most,” Glackin said. “There are faculty who work in the building, but it is really the students who are coming in and out all day long.”

Junior marketing management and recreation and parks administration student Hailee Long said her group decided to conduct an online survey to identify what students, faculty and staff liked previously about the kiosk space.

“We wanted to see what that space should be used for in the future because it’s currently not being used for anything,” Long said.

The student group met with Glackin and faculty on April 30 to present their findings.

The survey had 668 students responses and 85 faculty and staff responses.

From the survey, they learned visitors were purchasing things other than coffee. Faculty and staff purchased soda and pastries more often, and students purchased pastries and muffins.

“It does seem like there is support to having coffee and snacks, but the challenging part is how will that be possible,” Glackin said. “It is such a hard decision because if the cart stays, then how do we make it operational?”

After the survey results were reported, a small group of Kent employees worked to find a plan that worked best for the library.

Glackin explained in a letter written to those involved with the survey Mississippi Mugs will operate and has the ability to be self-supporting, which will be decided on again in May 2020 for the next semester.

Additions included hot drinks such as regular coffee, special blend coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, mochaccinos and hot chocolate, along with candy and other snacks.

Mississippi Mugs is open Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 11 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Saturday 12:30 to 4 p.m. Cash, debit and credit cards will be accepted, but not Redbucks, Flex or meal plans.