Wright State University

The Guardian

Construction for Rike Hall café set to begin

Lindsey Roberts

Lindsey Roberts

Taylor McKinley, News Writer

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The Raj Soin College of Business will soon welcome a Boston Stoker café to its lobby.

Dr. Joanne Li, dean of the business college and professor of finance, shared the vision for the café and discussed the many benefits that it will grant the university.

“When we first started to think about a concept of how to galvanize the exchange between faculty, students, business people and everybody on campus, we wanted a place that we could, in a very comfortable academic environment, talk about and exchange ideas, especially in our society today where everyone texts, emails and uses social media to communicate,” Li explained.

Dean Li also defined the goals for the coffee shop as a business.

“The goal is to create a café that is really a business that we can hand off to students. The students will eventually own and run this business.”

Everything starts with practical training. “While we are teaching the students in class about what you need to learn in finance, accounting, human resources, marketing and economic resources, there is no better way to practice this knowledge than owning a business yourself,” she said.

Dean Li hopes that the coffee shop will help morph the overall image of Wright State University and help create a stronger community for its students.

“The fundamental reason to build a café and to let the students own it is to break the commuter school image of Wright State so they have a stronger sense of belonging,” Li said.

Another goal for the café is to create an opportunity for students to help other students by using the student revenue to not only sustain the business, but to create a scholarship.

“It will be students supporting students, and that is actually very different from most of the student-owned cafés in the United States. We think this is a very pure goal to do the right thing for the students of Wright State,” Li explained.

The college of business is also in the process of collaborating with engineering students on a mobile app that will allow customers to order from the café from their phones. The app will be built by Wright State students.

Adam Wik, marketing coordinator for the Raj Soin College of Business, plans to create promotional materials for the café such as collectible cups and other RSCOB merchandise.

“A lot is still in the planning phase, but there is so much we can do beyond selling coffee: branded merchandise, special events, promotional campaigns, networking opportunities… The café will become a social learning hub for the college that we can really nurture,” Wik said.

Business college associates are abuzz with excitement for the new addition, including Sharon Wik, administrative specialist for the finance and financial services department.

“I’m excited about the new café. From what I’ve heard it’s going to be a great trendy place for everyone to hang out. The café is sure to be a fantastic draw to RSCOB,” Wik said.

Construction for the café will begin this semester and the projected opening date is May 2015. Students can look for progress in the Rike Hall lobby.

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Construction for Rike Hall café set to begin