Student life at Sonoma State University just got sweeter with the announcement of a new ice cream and boba tea venue coming to the Student Center external storefronts in fall 2016. The fall semester also brings 24-hour banking and food options to the Student Center with ATMs and vending machines.
The yet-to-be-named venue brings custom ice cream sandwiches and boba tea to Sonoma State for the first time. "We have held focus groups and these two concepts kept coming to the top of students lists," said Ryan Ernst, director of sales and marketing. "We are pleased to be able to act on this feedback and bring the services that students have told us they want."
The concepts were vetted through consultation with the Student Center Board of Advisors during the 2014-15 academic year. After discussing a number of ideas, the Board of Advisors was unanimous in its support of the ice cream/boba tea concept after hearing student feedback.
Boba, or bubble milk tea, was created in Taiwan in the 1980s and has gained an almost cult following in the Bay Area in recent years, with several new boba stores recently opening in Sonoma County. The drinks often include chewy tapioca balls that fit through a special wide straw like a pneumatic tube.
The venue will occupy the storefront space on the exterior of the Student Center next to Made by Seawolves, the student-run store that sells goods created by Sonoma State students. Construction is expected to be completed around the start of the fall semester.
Construction on the 24-hour banking and vending location is slated to begin soon. "Students have told us that they want a central ATM area as well as a place to get food and drinks after Lobo's and The Kitchens are closed. The new storefront will serve both of those needs and expand the services offered by the Student Center," said Ernst.
The ATM offerings will consist of three different types of financial institutions: a national bank (Bank of America); a local bank (Exchange Bank); and a credit union (Redwood Credit Union).
Food and beverage vending will be similar to the offerings found throughout campus and will feature healthy selections. The vending units will accept WolfBucks.
The concept of providing a banking location within the Student Center has been part of the building's master plan since its inception. Originally planned to house a physical bank branch, the concept evolved as student feedback illustrated that the need to visit a bank has waned due to technological advances including mobile banking. With the move to ATMs, sufficient floor space was made available to include food and beverage vending, a request made by many students since the building opened.
The new banking and vending location is currently planned to be open 24/7 except during campus closures. Construction is projected to be complete over the summer and the machines should be fully operational in the fall semester.