Fall semester to bring ice cream, boba tea venues

Students will be screaming for ice cream and boba tea when a new shop offering both is set to open in Sonoma State University’s Student Center in the fall.

Next semester will also bring 24-hour ATM banking and vending machines students will have access to when school is in session.  While the classrooms, Campus Recreation Center and the Kitchens at the Student Center may be closed, students will still have access to the area containing vending machines and three ATMs as long as semester classes are in session.

The idea for the unnamed boba and ice cream shop was continuously brought up during focus groups with students on what snacks and other food items they would like to see on campus.

Boba is a Taiwanese-based beverage that rapidly rose in popularity in the 1980s.  Some things students may find on the menu are bubble milk tea with tapioca balls or even ice-blended versions with a slushy consistency.

The Student Center opened to students and the public in November 2013 offering dining establishments such as Lobo’s and the Kitchens.

“It’s important to remember the constraints of the space when discussing possible storefronts.  With the patio directly above and the concrete slab foundation below, adding plumbing or ventilation necessary for some of the ideas was cost prohibitive,” said Ryan Ernst, director of Sales & Marketing for Entrepreneurial Activities at Sonoma State “A number of ideas were discussed with either a service or product focus, but the ice cream/boba tea shop was favored by students and did not require extensive modifications to the existing facility.”

The boba and ice cream shop will take the spot next to Made by Seawolves, the store that sells products made by students.  It will be in a central location between the RecreationCenter and the Student Center, a hub for student life.  

“It’s a good idea to have that because I know me and a lot of my friends love boba and we want somewhere to go after school or working out to go get a treat so it will be a good place to go” said student Brooke Mallory.

“The vending options will mirror what is currently available on campus with both food and beverage machines. More advanced machines with additional options may be possible in the future,” said Ernst.

Wolfbucks will also be accepted in these machines. This brings an on-campus food option for students late at night.

“We are currently considering additional service options including campus delivery and online ordering to provide additional convenience to our students,” said Ernst.

The student banking center will include three different branches of banking, Exchange Bank, Bank of America and Redwood Credit Union. Students have express they will be charged if they bank with a bank not affiliated with the ATM. According to Ernst, fees will depend on the bank.

The original plan was to host a physical bank branch within the Student Center.  Student feedback reported that a bank would be unnecessary since most banking besides physical money is handled through mobile banking on apps.

“Our current plan is to have the vending room ready by the beginning of the fall semester,” said Ernst. “The ice cream shop may not be ready by the first day of school but our hope is to open it this fall.  Much will depend on the construction timeline,” said Ernst.