Shaped like a mobile cooler and turning heads around campus, Fairfield University is the first school in the Northeast to partner with Grubhub and Starship Technologies to provide robot delivery services around campus.
With a simple download of the Grubhub app, students can use their credit or debit cards, Stagbucks or University Dining Dollars to pay for their personally delivered meal by robot.
Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services, Matthew Dinnan, expressed that “Fairfield University is excited about the opportunity to partner with Starship Technologies and Grubhub to bring the robot delivery system to campus.”
“Given the busy schedules students have, as well as the need for convenience, options and flexibility, the robot delivery system offers yet another platform of service to our campus community,” Dinan states.
Dinan also provided insight for where and when the robots will be of service.
The “options for meal service now include the Tully, snack bar, Levee, food trucks, DSB Starbucks Proudly Serves, Sushi DO, BCC and library Dunkins, and now robots,” Dinan stated.
He continued to explain that “the robots will provide delivery service weekdays from Starbucks (8 a.m. – 3 p.m.), the Snack Bar (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and The Levee (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.). The evening kitchen services [are delivered] from 5 p.m. during weekdays and weekends.”
Speaking of its convenience, the new technology shows Fairfield’s innovative approach as a new era begins and provides a contactless way to safely deliver food. “I think the new food robots coming to campus at Fairfield are showing different innovation, cementing ourselves as a modern Jesuit University with all the technology that’s around us and it provides more convenience to students,” Evan Keiser ‘24 stated.
Some students, who may have a farther daily walk to Fairfield’s dining services than others, now have the robots at their disposal. “With a pretty large 200-acre campus, there’s some regions that don’t have easy access to food services so having the food robots definitely helps out,” Keiser continued.
First-year-student Kara Bode says, “The first time I saw the robots I laughed at them, but after studying in my dorm all afternoon, the robot was an easy and fun way to get dinner without leaving my room.”
“I wish that these were something that were on campus when I lived in the townhouses, the village, the quad… especially during COVID, these would’ve been something that were awesome to have,” Kevin Stush ‘23, a current Fairfield Beach resident, stated.
Some students, however, have shown frustration about the robots, and have instead decided to simply not use them.
“…I tried to get Starbucks, and it said that it would take over an hour, so I haven’t tried them, but I just think they’re cute rolling around campus,” Nora Jacobi ‘25 laughed.
Quite literally through “rain or shine,” the robots will travel through the snow, up steep inclines and at night. However, they cannot travel to dorms without sidewalks. In order to receive your food from the “Starship Robot,” students must meet it at the door located at its designated location and unlock the bot with the phone which was used to place the order, according to information on Starship’s official website.
Download Grubhub and register your fairfield.edu to get started.