SOU, Thinking Local?

With the recent opening of Human Bean and the upcoming launch of Einstein Bagels, Rebecca Espindola, a barista at the Java Union, laments the trend of chain stores on campus, “Does SOU represent Ashland’s local vibe?  I’m kind of sad that there is not more that is local on campus.”

But the Head of Community and Media Relations, Ryan Brown, explains how the University regulates which businesses are on campus.  It’s in part about being local but also if the businesses serve the needs of SOU students, “In an effort to meet our students’ needs, Southern Oregon University regularly monitors and evaluates the on-campus services that are available to students.”

And SOU is not without its local fare. Noble Coffee Roasting at the Java Union and SOU’s Rogue Credit Union branch are two examples of local businesses on campus. The Human Bean was even founded in Ashland Oregon in 1998, according to their website. They have since grown and expanded to eight states. Still, the drive-up coffee shop has a special place in its heart for Ashland.

Moriah Sukraw, like many SOU students, spends many hours on campus per week. Where her money goes is important to her, “Ashland is very community oriented. I think SOU captures that pretty well. I think that contributes to the close knit community feel.”

Sukraw mentions that there could be more local options offered on campus in her opinion, but she notes that SOU does a good job hosting upstanding businesses.

“Barnes and Noble is the only really big chain I can think of, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. They seem like a good company. It would be cool to see more local things advertised. Not just food, but also like art and hand crafted things.” She finally adds, “I feel like buying local brings a feel of home and could be a catalyst that brings a community together.”

Brown does not disagree and says the University will continue to nurture all its relationships, “ We appreciate all of our partners who provide these services on campus.”