This fall, returning UGA students and staff were welcomed with two newly refurbished cafes in Tate Student Center, in the heart of campus activity. College coffee addicts like myself should get even more excited for the upcoming Tate Starbucks.

In a 2015 campus-wide survey, UGA ranked Starbucks highest as their preferred coffee source. Sure enough, UGA took this feedback seriously and recently went under construction where an old dance studio used to be.

The official date of opening has yet to be determined. @UGAFoodServices replied to one curious tweet, saying that the new Tate Starbucks is expected to open late fall. However, UGA Auxiliary Services told Spoon UGA that they anticipate opening sometime in January 2017.

Like many Bulldogs, I was extremely pumped (no beverage pun intended) for this addition and desperately sought answers to my most pressing (pun intended) questions. After many referrals, UGA Auxiliary Services was kind enough to shed some light.

What will it look like?

beer, tea, pizza, coffee
Samantha Fehd

The new Tate Starbucks will be on the third floor, adjacent to WUOG college radio station. While an HGTV-style design rendering wasn’t available, I asked about seating options and spatial accommodations, because we all know to expect high traffic once it opens.

The new Tate Starbucks will be on the third floor, adjacent to WUOG college radio station. While an HGTV-style design rendering wasn’t available, I asked about seating options and spatial accommodations, because we all know to expect high traffic once it opens.

Currently, UGA Auxiliary Services is “working with Starbucks and Tate Center to ensure that line queuing is organized and efficient” and “to create a comfortable seating environment in the space located.” They stated that “the space is being designed with high traffic in mind.”

The Starbucks will be a retail location, owned and operated by the University of Georgia. With the key word being “retail location,” I'm thinking it may resemble a Starbucks you would see in larger stores. If this is the case, it would be more like a quick-service coffee bar with the usual Starbucks menu.

Payment Options

coffee, beer, espresso, tea
Jocelyn Hsu

The retail location also had me wondering about payment options. I know as an avid Starbucks regular that the Starbucks Rewards Program is only offered at some retail locations. Unless I’m absolutely desperate, I'll refuse a purchase that won’t help me rack up Stars.

According to Auxiliary Services, “complete details about the Starbucks Rewards program are pending at this time;” however, they “will accept cash, credit, and debit cards, Paw Points, and Bulldog Bucks.”

Although I'm one to strategize my Starbucks Rewards, I typically use Bulldog Bucks (UGA's debit system of payment) or Paw Points (available to students on meal plan) for on-campus purchases anyway.

How this could affect your coffee game

coffee, milk, tea, beer
Sarah Yanofsky

If you usually grab a cup off campus, you have a number of sources to choose from. Off and on campus, Athens has grown to love its locally-owned UGA partner, Jittery Joe's. Students depend on Jittery Joe's for late nights in the MLC or between classes for a caffeine boost, and now the newly-opened SLC (Science Learning Center) features Coffee & Bagels, with Caribou Coffee and options from Einstein Bros. Bagels.

Now Auxiliary Services says that they are looking to expand on-campus coffee services even further due to campus feedback. Partnering further with Jittery Joe’s, they plan to open a second location in the Science Library. So I guess that brings my previous total to four. Either way, UGA's cup of Joe will never run dry.

While some may worry about possible competition among on-campus vendors, in my opinion, it will not be an issue. For one, college students will go wherever it's quick and convenient.

Students could easily hike up to the Arch (a path notoriously and unofficially known as "Park Hill") toward the Starbucks in downtown Athens. If proximity or physical work wasn't an issue, they probably wouldn't have suggested an on-campus location in the survey.

Even on campus, UGA spans over 760 acres with about 460 buildings, and time blocks allow students only fifteen minutes between back-to-back classes. Unless students develop superhuman abilities (although I question those acing o-chem), there's no way to cross campus, wait in line, then wait for your order, and go to class.

Plus, while Starbucks always has a spot in my heart, I'm a big believer in supporting local Athens businesses (i.e. Jittery Joe's). When a small business next door blossoms into a larger, established company, it brings pride to the community, who all actively seek to help it grow.

Want to become an on-campus barista?

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk, mocha, cream
Lara Norgaard

I’ve always wanted to know the secrets behind the counter and may actually consider barista life. If you’re looking for a job next spring like me, UGA Food Services is now hiring students at all campus dining locations, including the new Tate Starbucks. You can apply here online.

While Starbucks offers a unique College Achievement Plan for their employees, this location will be owned and operated by the University of Georgia. Employees at the Tate location would still undergo Starbucks' training program, but students would have access to UGA student employee benefits instead.

UGA employee benefits have perks worth noting, including “a free meal during each shift, meal plan rebates, opportunities for raises, and flexible schedules.” Meal plan rebates allow meal plan reimbursement for meals eaten at work for qualifying students on meal plan. UGA’s full-time benefits for full-time employees also apply.

Those benefits really add up, especially if you’re on meal plan or wouldn’t mind free food during work. Who knows, you may see me there in a green apron, if not already carrying a mermaid cup with me to every class.