After years of continuous renovations and improvements, it was not out of the ordinary for another change to take place at Fairfield University. This campus update, however, was not another academic building or a new dorm. This change was huge. Shockingly, it wasn’t for nursing students or business students either. The update affected the entire student body and how each Fairfield student runs and operates. This past spring, Fairfield University introduced a coffee change, bringing Dunkin’ on campus, and it wasn’t long before the news quickly spread like wildfire.
With the beginning of the school year taking place only a few short weeks ago, Stags have been running on Dunkin’! This is a drastic shift from the homey comfort of Einstein’s and the elitist Starbucks, referring to its overpriced, anti-gift card and overall unsympathetic approach to a college student’s budget. These long-awaited Dunkin’s were a surprise to most students at Fairfield.
Soon the arrival of Dunkin’ was suddenly the talk of the campus, serving as the main conversation piece that united on-campus residents, beach go-ers, under and upperclassmen alike. Einstein’s and Starbucks are closing, and they’re going to be replaced by not one, not two but three Dunkin’s? I heard the news within hours of it being announced – the gossip unfolding all while I was studying abroad halfway across the world in Florence, Italy. It was the most excitement about a renovation on campus that had taken place at Fairfield University in a long time. This type of buzz, just like the one provided by your favorite caffeinated drink of preference, is exactly what campus needed.
Everyone, meaning recent Einstein’s and Starbucks mourners and previous Dunkin’ daydreamers, had an opinion when the news first broke, and as expected, they still do. I have heard from both sides, and as stated previously, it has been made clear where I stand on Starbucks. Although, as opinionated as I am, I will set my pride aside this one time and give credit where credit is due. Einstein’s bagels were good and the coffee was decent. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the chocolate chip bagels will be missed. The more predominant factor that contributed to the Dunkin’ change, however, is the simple fact that Dunkin’ is more mainstream and trendy.
A fan of the coffee change or not, Dunkin’s impact this first month has been stronger than the impact Einstein’s and Starbucks ever made combined in past years on campus. Something about a transparent plastic cup decaled with neon orange and pink writing makes a student’s caffeine reliance have more swagger, desk space more fashionable and their once average Fairfield University Snapchat story now almost instantly cooler. And don’t worry, I didn’t forget the gooey glazed donut that is placed on top of the sugary drink because every Dunkin’ regular knows that’s protocol, of course.
Even with cheaper prices than Starbucks and all the visual appeal, this caffeine update is a tough adjustment for some on campus. There is a learning curve for the staff with having to memorize the new menu, and there’s an intimidating pressure of crafting the perfect ratio of cream, sugar and caramel swirl in a medium iced coffee without ruining the morning of a student rushing to make their 9:30 a.m. class. That’s a responsibility I wouldn’t dare sign myself up for.
As with any campus update, there are areas of improvement that over time will be learned and sorted out. Rumor has it that the John A. Barone Campus Center and the Charles F. Dolan School of Business Dunkin’s appears to be operating well, and the library Dunkin’ is slowly but surely adjusting to the spontaneous crowds consisting of individuals on campus tours who are in desperate need of an energy boost.
It’s important to remember that it is only the first month for Dunkin’ on campus. Students are still adjusting to the new school year, and so is our new coffee provider. So let’s wait it out as the flaws fade out. Your energy levels and social media posts will thank you later. At the end of the day, Fairfield is just a caffeine crazed campus and we’re all just living in it.