Selena Bemak | Editor
Yesterday, La Salle’s Saxbys location, which is situated on the first floor of Founders’ Hall, celebrated its grand opening, though the café held its soft opening in April.
The café, which opened at 7 a.m., allowed customers to pay what they wish for all items between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. During that time span, several “celebrity baristas” worked in the café, including Dean of the School of Business MarySheila McDonald, men’s basketball head coach Ashley Howard, SGA president Tom Sacino and Br. Bob Kinzler. There were also special appearances throughout the day from the La Salle Explorer, President Colleen Hanycz, Saxbys CEO Nick Bayer and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, ’80.
All of the proceeds from the pay-what-you-wish period will be matched by Saxbys 100 percent and will go directly to La Salle’s fund for students in crisis. The money raised will specifically go to the Basket, a program founded by Kinzler that supports students who are food insecure.
Saxbys and the University partnered last year, with La Salle becoming a participant in the chain’s Experiential Learning Program. Through this program, Saxbys opens an entirely student-run locations on college campuses. Other schools in the region that participate in this program are Temple, Millersville and Penn State, among others.
One student from each school is selected to run the entirety of operations of that location. Saxbys refers to those students as “Student Café Executive Officers” or “SCEOs.” Senior finance and marketing major Emma Schweigert serves as the current SCEO for Saxbys at La Salle.
The grand opening of Saxbys in Founders’ Hall received a warm reception from several members of the administration. Assistant Director of Campus Activities Mina Koller remarked, “I was actually pleasantly surprised at how well the opening went today. The fact that Saxbys was starting their official partnership with La Salle by encouraging people to donate to the food pantry and the emergency relief fund, and the fact they were matching whatever was donated by 100 percent really impressed me. I think that definitely set the right tone for the partnership.”
Koller also noted that the grant opening was a great opportunity for students, commenting, “students seemed really excited about it. Students that could give were giving more than they would have if they were just buying stuff, and the students that normally didn’t get the opportunity to try Saxbys were able to try things, so that was really great.”
According to Koller, the entirety of the Division of Student Affairs Leadership Team were all coincidentally at the grand opening at the same time. “It was really nice as a community to all come together and support it,” she said. “Also, their food is just really good – we all were just loving the bacon grilled cheese.”
Vice President of Student Affairs, Dawn Soufleris, was also in attendance at the event and echoed Koller, referring to the opening as “awesome…just to see the students and the staff come out, particularly because it’s for our student pantry,” Soufleris said. “We are just thrilled that Saxbys was willing to allow the proceeds to go to Br. Bob’s pantry for students who have food insecurities. And I love Saxbys coffee, so it’s great,” she exclaimed.
Andrea Naughton, assistant director for Greek life & new student orientation, also went to support the grand opening. She said it “was exciting to see a lot of staff members over there supporting. I don’t get over to Saxbys too often just because we’re on the other side of campus so it was good encouragement just to get over there. Now that I was there once,I feel like I’m going to go a bit more for lunch.”
Some students were similarly impressed with Saxbys. Senior history and political science double major Stephen Pierce thought that “this new grand opening of Saxbys was great. It was a great way to bring the Lasallian community together.”
“I don’t usually go into the business building that often, but after looking at what they have to offer on their menu, I’ll be stopping by more often,” Pierce said.
Junior communication major Elyssa Loughlin stated she was “really excited that they offered their great products but were also giving back to the Lasallian community because it shows that they’re dedicated to being a part of La Salle. And I’m always down for some cold brew on tap.”